Each day, DBPR employees come to work and do their best to help the people of Florida. Our job is to serve as regulatory partners with more than one million licensees across the state to help ensure the safety of Floridians and Florida’s visitors. This week, I am happy to report the conclusion of a seven-month investigation that was precipitated by the diligence of DBPR’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT).
In February, the ABT Jacksonville District Office initiated an investigation of an individual that was allegedly distributing tobacco products without a license throughout northeast Florida, thus depriving the State of Florida of taxes due on the tobacco products.
The investigation revealed that this unlicensed organization was not only dealing in tobacco products but also manufacturing and distributing synthetic marijuana and selling drug paraphernalia for the consumption of the synthetic marijuana to locations as far south as Miami and, most recently, as far west as California.
ABT partnered with several state and local law enforcement agencies to ensure the unlicensed operation was shut down and 11 individuals were taken into custody yesterday. This means that these individuals are no longer facilitating these illegal activities and producing dangerous products, which are often marketed toward children while also depriving the state of tax revenue.
I am extremely proud of all of the law enforcement officers who put their best efforts into every investigation and especially of our team in Jacksonville and the concerted effort between ABT and all of the participating law enforcement agencies. Mostly, I am proud of ABT’s hard work as we did our part to keep our state a safer place!
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