Winter Haven Police executed a search warrant on a property located along 21 St SW in Winter Haven following tips of drug sales going on at the location.

Three Arrested In Winter Haven With Enough Fentanyl To Kill 1,600 People

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Winter Haven Police executed a search warrant on a property located along 21 St SW in Winter Haven following tips of drug sales going on at the location.

On Wednesday, officers served the warrant where 60-year-old Ildefonso Mendez-Rios, 59-year-old Fernando Sanchez, and 52-year-old Sandra Cruz were detained.

Investigators say that during the search, a locked shed was located in the backyard to that only Mendez had access to.

Inside, a jewelry box was found on a shelf with 15 baggies containing 2.5 grams of a pink powdery substance, which tested positive for fentanyl. Police say the amount confiscated had the potential to kill 1,600 people.

Once inside the residence, a safe belonging to Mendez-Rios’ was located that contained $9,070 in cash.

A bedroom belonging to Sanchez was located with an additional five baggies of a powdery substance that tested positive for fentanyl. Additionally, methamphetamine was found inside of a cup along with drug paraphernalia.

When Sandra Cruz was searched, a pipe that tested positive for fentanyl was located inside of her bra. Cruz also was found to have an active warrant for Failure to Appear on a suspended driver’s license charge.

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“It should also be noted that the residence borders the Lake Howard Nature Park, well within 1,000 feet of the park,” said the Winter Haven Police department.

The three were all taken into custody and charged as follows:

  • Ildefonso Mendez-Rios: Sales of Fentanyl within 1,000 ft of school/childcare/park (F-1); Keep Shop/Veh for Drugs (M-1) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (M-1)
  • Fernando Sanchez: Possession of Fentanyl (F-3); Possession of Methamphetamine (F-3) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (M-1)
  • Sandra Cruz: Possession of Fentanyl (F-3) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (

“Our officers were able to take a significant amount of fentanyl off the street,” said Police Chief David Brannan. “We are dedicated to continuing the search for those who are endangering the public with this lethal drug.”

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