Polk County Sheriff’s Undercover Narcotics detectives charge 68 suspects during “Swipe Left for Meth,” a 6-month investigation focusing on drug sales facilitated on social media and dating apps

68 Charged In Florida Social Media And Dating App Undercover Drug Sting “Swipe Left For Meth”

POLK COUNTY, FL. – Following a 6-month-long undercover investigation, Polk County Sheriff’s Office undercover Narcotics detectives made 60 arrests throughout Polk County and obtained eight (8) arrest warrants related to the sale and/or possession of illegal narcotics.

The drug sales transactions all took place on three different social media and mobile dating apps: Grindr, Scruff, and Taimi. Grindr was the app with more drug sales than the other apps mentioned.

The investigation began in July 2021 when PCSO received a Heartland Crime Stoppers tip indicating that people were openly selling drugs on the well-known dating app Grindr.

PCSO detectives created undercover profiles within the app, and found it relatively easy to strike up conversations with those who were selling methamphetamine, cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD, Fentanyl, and marijuana in Polk County.

Following a 6-month-long undercover investigation, Polk County Sheriff’s Office undercover Narcotics detectives made 60 arrests throughout Polk County and obtained eight (8) arrest warrants related to the sale and/or possession of illegal narcotics.

It was clear during the conversations and ensuing undercover drug buys that the suspects’ primary purposes for being on the dating app were to sell drugs – not to find a date.

“We’ve known for some time that suspects will use the Internet and social media to prey upon children online, or to engage in prostitution, but this is something we are seeing more and more of in Polk County – suspects who are using dating apps to sell illegal narcotics. Suspects are getting more creative, but so are our detectives. We’re working with these mobile app companies to raise awareness, and asking for their cooperation during our investigations. The good news is, we found that some who were on the dating app were reporting illegal drug sales when it became apparent to them, and the mobile app companies were banning some suspects attempting to sell drugs. When we find drug dealers, we put them in jail,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Detectives filed 159 total felony and 72 total misdemeanor charges against the suspects during the investigation. Altogether, the suspects have 908 previous charges, including 453 prior felonies and 455 prior misdemeanors. Eleven (11) of the suspects told detectives they receive government assistance.

Detectives will continue to monitor social media and dating apps for illegal drug transactions. We encourage the public to send us specific tip information about online drug sellers through Heartland Crime Stoppers at www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward.

Based on the online drug sales, detectives obtained 52 arrests warrants for those who actually sold illegal narcotics. During the investigation they arrested 16 other suspects related to illegal narcotics. There are still eight suspects with warrants who are at-large

Following a 6-month-long undercover investigation, Polk County Sheriff’s Office undercover Narcotics detectives made 60 arrests throughout Polk County and obtained eight (8) arrest warrants related to the sale and/or possession of illegal narcotics.

During the investigation, these three (3) suspects were also arrested/charged:

Joshua Allen, DOB 09/13/1980 of Auburndale

·        Armed trafficking in meth (Capital Felony)

·        Possession of paraphernalia (M1)

Henry Sanchez, DOB 10/19/1994 of Orlando

·        Possession of meth (F3)

·        Possession of prescription drug without prescription (M1)

·        Resisting arrest (M1)

·        Battery on LEO

·        Giving false info to LEO

Robert Tillis, DOB 03/09/1973 of Mulberry

·        Possession of meth (F3)

·        Possession of prescription drug without prescription (M1)

·        Possession of paraphernalia (M1)

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