POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Two Winter Haven men were arrested for selling fentanyl, which is believed to be linked to a recent drug overdose death, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.
Brandon Jones, 23, and Joffern Padilla III, 32, were taken into custody on Tuesday following an investigation that began back in early November.
The sheriff's office said that deputies and Polk Fire Rescue responded to a call about an unresponsive man on Nov. 6, 2022. They said a 52-year-old man was taken to a local hospital and treated for a drug overdose.
"The drugs found on the man tested positive for fentanyl," the sheriff's office wrote in a news release.
Just a few weeks later, on Nov. 24, the man died in Volusia County as a result of another suspected drug overdose.
The sheriff's office said detectives learned the victim purchased fentanyl from a man known as “BJ," whose actual name is Brandon Jones. Detectives were also able to identify Padilla as the second suspect.
Over the course of their investigation, undercover detectives made multiple drug purchase from Jones, the sheriff's office said. When a search warrant was performed at Jones' Winter Haven home, deputies seized .25 pounds of fentanyl, 120 grams of methamphetamine and over 1 pound of high-grade marijuana.
"The amount of fentanyl seized is enough to kill about 70,000 people," deputies said in a statement.
"During one negotiated purchase, Padilla and Jones met the detective at the agreed-upon location. Jones then handed Padilla a clear bag of almost 58 grams of fentanyl to give to the detective."
The sheriff's office said on one occasion Jones warned the undercover detective to not "take too much of it (methamphetamine) because it's really strong."
“It’s no secret drug dealers are killing people in our community. Through this investigation, we learned that Brandon Jones sold illegal drugs to a man who overdosed in Polk County, and then later, he overdosed again in Volusia County where he died," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in a statement.
"This investigation is ongoing, but let me make it clear, we will bring homicide charges against drug dealers when we find out they have sold drugs to people who in turn are killed from those drugs. We will hold these killers accountable.”
Jones was also arrested for trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, use of a two-way device to commit a felony, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of marijuana over 20 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting without violence, according to the sheriff's office.
Padilla's additional charges included possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to appear for petit theft.