By Matt Wiley,
A recent, large-scale drug sting operation by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) has resulted in more than 50 arrests in just 24 hours, including two Wesley Chapel residents, each charged with dealing in controlled substances.
As part of the PCSO Vice Narcotics Unit’s “Operation: Balderstone,” on September 5, 55 arrests were made across Pasco County, including Lazaro “Lachi” Martin, 23, of the Riverside Crossing community on S.R. 54, and Heather Marie Short, 35, of Quail Hollow, who were arrested after selling prescription pills and other drugs to undercover PCSO deputies.
PCSO reports that on three separate occasions, the most recent on September 5, Martin was in possession of varying amounts of MDMA — or “Molly,” as it is popularly called. During the two previous incidents, Martin sold a combined amount of nearly 35 grams of the substance to undercover deputes in exchange for more than $1,000.
Martin was charged with two counts of possession of MDMA, one count of sale of methamphetamine and one count of trafficking in MDMA. He was released from the Pasco County jail on a $70,000 bond.
Short was arrested on September 5 for selling Xanax and Suboxone, a medication used to treat opiate addiction, to undercover deputies on three occasions since January. In total, Short sold 18 Suboxone “packs” and one Xanax pill to deputies for a total of $235…Short remains in custody on three counts each of possession of, and sale of, a controlled substance. Her bond is set at $25,500. The operation, which took 55 suspects that were involved in drugs off the street, was named in honor of the now-retired Lt. Chuck Balderstone, who Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco says made a tremendous impact on the County’s drug problems with prescription pills and Spice the past few years during his more than 30-year career.
“The legacy (Balderstone) has made will last for a long time,” said Sheriff Nocco during the September 6 press conference regarding the operation. “We are a better agency and a better county because of Lt. Balderstone.”
No additional information was available at our press time.