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Polk meth bust: 7 arrested, over 50 lbs seized

2:05 PM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
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Lydia Santiago

Polk County, Florida-- After nearly a year of investigating, Polk County Sheriff's detectives say they arrested seven suspects and seized over 50 pounds of Methamphetamine in a drug bust Tuesday.

According to reports, undercover detectives purchased the drug themselves, and watched as others purchased the drug from a mother of three, 38-year-old Lydia Santiago of Bartow. 

After 11 months of the street-level exchanges, reports say detectives pulled Santiago over as she was driving with her three children Tuesday, and found over three pounds of meth, and $8,000 in cash.

Officials arrested Santiago and her front-seat passenger, 20-year-old Daquon Gunter-Santel of Lakeland- who was already on probation- and turned Santiago's children over to the Department of Children and Families. 

Photos: View photos of all 7 suspects here

After busting those two, detectives headed to Santiago's home where they found nearly a half pound of marijuana, a firearm and another suspect, 23-year-old Jorge Morales-Vallejo.

...And it was bad timing for two other men who reportedly showed up to Santiago's home with two pounds of meth in their car, only to be greeted by the detectives who were still on scene. 

Officials later found that the two men, Arturo Sanchez, 22, and Angel Castro, 24, were using a Winter Haven home off as a "stash house" for nearly 50 pounds of meth and multiple firearms, one of which was reported stolen.

Officials reportedly arrested Sanchez and Castro, along with Morales-Vallejo before leaving Santiago's home. 

Another Winter Haven spot to be searched that day: a home located off the 200 block of 24th Court.

Detectives arrested the resident, 35-year-old Jose Torres, after finding more meth, drug paraphernalia and over $5,000 in cash. 

The last leg of the bust took place across the county in Bartow.

Edwin Hall, 61, was in possession of Meth. Reports do not say if Hall got the drug from Santiago or her crew, but they do say he was arrested as a part of this bust. 

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