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 December 14th, 2009  
St. Lucie County Sheriff’s drug investigators, infiltrate, shut down marijuana-cocaine distribution ring, Sheriff Mascara announces
 
A four-month investigation by St. Lucie County Sheriff’s drug detectives smashed a cocaine-and-marijuana trafficking ring with a series of arrest and search warrants on Saturday, according to Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

“Our detectives broke up a drug ring that was bringing more than 60 pounds of marijuana and four to five kilograms of cocaine into St. Lucie County every month,” Sheriff Mascara said. “The drug ring had been operating for about two years, with drugs being mailed from Texas to St. Lucie County, stashed at a motel in the county and distributed from there.”

Arrested Saturday were:

- Victor Tapia Jr., 27 (DOB 9/11/82), of 1703 Angle Road, Fort Pierce, jailed under $558,000 bond on nine charges of cocaine trafficking (three counts) sale or delivery of cocaine (two counts), marijuana possession (two counts), conspiracy and one count of possessing narcotics equipment. All but the equipment charge are felonies. Tapia is a registered St. Lucie County sex offender.

- Michael Clifford , 33 (DOB 5/16/75), of 4889 North U.S.1, Fort Pierce, charged with marijuana possession (two felony counts), conspiracy (also a felony), and misdemeanor possession of narcotics equipment. Clifford was living at the Fountain Resort Motel, which was used to stash the drugs before they were distributed to mid-level dealers.

- Jeffery Clifford, 27 (DOB 12/4/82), brother of Michael Clifford, also of 4889 North U.S.1, Fort Pierce, charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

- Debra Wolcott Clifford, mother of Michael and Jeffrey Clifford, 51 (DOB 3/21/58), charged with two counts of felony marijuana possession and one misdemeanor count of possessing narcotic equipment.

Tapia and Michael Clifford ran the drug ring.

Sheriff Mascara said the investigation revealed that Tapia had the connections in Texas to arrange for drugs to be mailed to him in St. Lucie County. Detectives learned this from infiltrating the drug ring. Investigators also made undercover purchases of cocaine from Tapia.

Investigators served search warrants and arrest warrants Saturday at the homes of Tapia and Clifford, taking all four defendants into custody.

Seized at Tapia’s home were 4.7 ounces of cocaine 0.25 ounce of marijuana.

Seized at the motel room, which was used as a stash house, were 14 pounds of marijuana, and another 10 ounces of marijuana hidden in a mattress.

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