TAVARES, Fla. – A Florida sheriff has a message for heroin dealers—and the unique way he delivered it is getting national attention.
With four masked undercover detectives surrounding him, Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell told heroin dealers their days were numbered in a Facebook video posted Friday afternoon. It’s been viewed more than 550,000 times.
Like many communities around the country, Lake County has struggled with heroin and heroin overdoses. The department has received numerous calls from residents expressing their concerns.
“Over the last month or so, I’ve had several phone calls from citizens of this county concerned about the number of overdoses related to heroin,” he says as music plays in the background. “I want our citizens to know that I’m aware of this serious issue. I am asking our residents to please call and let us know if you know of a location where this poison is being pushed out to our streets.”
He then turns his attention to drug dealers in the community.
“To the dealers who are pushing this poison, I have a message for you: we’re coming for you. As a matter of fact, our undercover agents have already bought heroin from many of you. We are simply waiting for the arrest warrants to be finalized.”
He tells dealers to “enjoy looking over your shoulder” because officers could come any day.
“Enjoy trying to sleep tonight wondering if tonight’s the night our SWAT team blows your front door off the hinges. We are coming for you,” he says.
“If our agents can show the nexus between you, the pusher of poison, and the person that overdoses and dies, we will charge you with murder. We are coming for you. Run.”
The video was created by the agency’s new Community Engagement Unit and recorded in the department’s training room. It runs about 1 minute and 30 seconds and ends with a slate urging residents to call the agency’s crime hotline.
Reaction from the video ranged from supportive to mocking on Facebook. Several people expressed gratitude to the sheriff for being a visible presence against the county’s heroin problem while others said the message reminded them of an ISIS video.
“Nice look boys. If you need to conceal identities, don’t put them on Facebook looking like terrorists,” wrote one Facebook user. “This whole video just screams ‘welcome to Trumpistan.’ You can be firm and determined without going over the top and dressing like ISIS.”
“Wish PD’s everywhere would do this. Those dealers SHOULD be charged with murder,” another commenter wrote. “Lake County are setting a great example. Thank you!”