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 July 7th, 2009  
Florida Narcotic Officers’ Association names St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Detective Andrew Bolonka Statewide Officer of the Year, St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara announces

 A nine-month investigation that shut down all levels of a Florida drug distribution network has earned St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Detective Andrew Bolonka the Florida Narcotic Officers’ Association Statewide Officer of the Year award, according to St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.


“Detective Bolonka’s work led to 17 arrests including a number of federal indictments of drug dealers and distributors who literally were poisoning Floridians on Florida’s east coast from Brevard County to Broward County,” Sheriff Mascara said. “He and his fellow narcotics investigators of the Sheriff’s Office were able to partner with federal, state and local law agencies in a series of investigations that began in fall 2008.”


Bolonka will receive his award Thursday at the association’s 17th annual training conference in Sarasota.


Detective Bolonka, 42, is a six-year veteran of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. In 2007, he joined the Special Investigations Unit, which handles narcotics, prostitution, organized crime and other vice investigations.


His investigation began with violent drug dealers of Fort Pierce’s 29th Street Gang, which was distributing as much as 25 kilograms and 5,000 Ecstasy pills a month in St. Lucie County. Bolonka’s work locally led to a partnership with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and three federal agencies: the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


In late January, three ringleaders of the 29th Street Gang were indicted, and those indictments led to 10 more arrests of drug dealers, the seizure of $130,000 cash, 11 luxury cars, jewelry and drugs.


The investigation revealed that the supplier in Brevard County was getting his drugs from a Haitian man based in Broward County who was importing the drugs from the Bahamas and Haiti and distributing 300 kilograms of cocaine a month throughout South Florida. The Broward group also was buying and selling weapons in the Pompano Beach area.


Bolonka and the other investigators teamed up with the Broward Sheriff’s Office  which identified millions of dollars worth of homes, cash property and luxury cars belonging to the drug and weapon distributors.


In late May, investigators served five search warrants in Palm Beach and Broward counties and arrested the four leaders of the drug ring. Detectives also seized 297 kilograms of cocaine, five vehicles, large amounts of jewelry and cash, as well as other assets.


Those arrested have been indicted by a federal grand jury and are awaiting trial.


Bolonka’s leadership and the work of numerous federal, state and local law agencies smashed the entire drug distribution network from top to bottom, seizing large quantities of drugs and cash, confiscating luxury cars, jewelry and other assets and arresting 17 people.

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