Record bust nets 126 grams of heroin

Feb. 16, 2013 @ 05:03 AM

In what police called the largest heroin seizure in Lee County history, Sanford Police Department officers said they confiscated 126 grams of the drug and arrested a Virginia man — who was already wanted in his home state.

SPD Capt. Dan Kehagias said authorities also confiscated 103 grams of cocaine and three grams of marijuana during the bust Thursday morning, which was executed at an unnamed local motel. Tariq Rashad Amin, 30, of Trailing Ridge Road, Henrico, Va., was charged with one count of trafficking in heroin, one count of trafficking in cocaine, one count possession with intent to sell heroin within 1,000 feet of a school, one count possession with intent to sell cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school, one count felony maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances and one count possession of drug paraphernalia.

Officers said the suspect remained in custody in Lee County Jail on Friday. He was reportedly placed under a $250,000 secure bond on the charges. An initial $250,000 fugitive bond has since been revoked, Kehagias said.

Kehagias said the operation started as a joint investigation with the U.S. Marshal Service involving a fugitive out of Virginia, and they located Amin on Thursday afternoon — executing a search warrant at the motel. The suspect was reportedly wanted in Virginia on weapons, assault and drug charges.

Besides the narcotics, officers said they seized $3,500 and a 2006 Audi A8. They estimated that the drugs carried a street value of about $75,000.

“This is the largest heroin seizure [in Lee County] I’m aware of,” Kehagias said.

According to the officer, “Heroin’s become a major issue here in Sanford.” Opiate pills have been a problem in recent years and have grown more costly on the black market, he said, creating a ready-made market for the less expensive heroin.

While Amin was the only arrest as of Friday, Kehagias said, “There are warrants for another suspect in this case,” who he declined to name pending the active investigation.

“There may be arrests locally also ... ,” he said. “We’re still trying to find all the local ties to this guy.”