Agents on Marion County’s Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team (UDEST) successfully took apart four narcotics trafficking organizations over the course of a year and a half-long investigation, the sheriff’s office said in a press release Wednesday. Operations “China White” and “Smackdown” led to the arrests of 36 individuals, with apparent kingpin Louis Jose Arce (nicknamed “Chico”) still wanted for heroin trafficking.
The investigations dismantled four drug trafficking organizations (Parrishville, China White, Smack Kings, and Armed Misfits). Arce, who is believed to have been the sole distributor for the outfits, is currently out on bond from a previous heroin trafficking arrest on September 9. Police said agents are actively searching for him as well as 18 other individuals who are believed to be involved.
The UDEST operations followed an increase in rates of heroin use in Marion County, police said. During Operation “Smackdown,” a total of $20,270 worth of heroin was purchased from the dealers.
“These operations could not have been successful without the outstanding teamwork in Marion County’s elite UDEST unit,” Marion County Sheriff Emery Gainey said. “But our work is not done. We now need the public’s help in finding these wanted drug dealers so we can make Marion County a safer place.”
Those with information on the location of the wanted subjects can call 352-732-9111. Those who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of Marion County at 352-368-STOP.