DeFuniak Springs "This is probably the largest single felony arrest in one case in history of Walton County,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson, during Wednesday press conference.
Walton County Sheriff's investigators say they first learned about a possible methamphetamine ring October 2013.
They immediately began collecting enough possible evidence for a judge to give them warrants for wire taps.
"In January of this year that continued an investigation that we partnered closely with the State Attorney's office and has resulted in Operation Avalanche,” said Major Joe Preston, of the Sheriff’s office.
“Operation Avalanche” came crashing down on the suspects Monday, when investigators served search warrants on four locations around DeFuniak Springs, including the office of public defender 61-year old Lenny Platteborze.
Platteborze allegedly admitted to keeping drugs in his desk.
He was arrested and charged with illegally obtaining prescription drugs, specifically the painkiller oxycodone.
A judge set Platteborze's bond Tuesday at $10,000, and he's reportedly been fired from the Public Defender's office.
"Mr. Platteborze's arrest arose as an outgrowth of the primary investigation-and while he had a relationship with some of the leaders of the investigation, we believed that he was engaged in what we believed was illegal activity,” said State Attorney for Circuit One, Bill Eddins.
His arrested had a ripple effect the last three days, as Sheriff's investigators arrested 21 other people on several charges including manufacture of methamphetamine, distribution of controlled substances including pharmaceutical medications, and conspiracy to manufacture meth.
"This wasn't a hap-hazard onetime thing, but obviously this was an organized effort that we will continue to move through,” said Major Preston.
Sheriff's investigators have warrants for four other suspects and say they expect to make even more arrests in the coming weeks.
Sheriff Michael Adkinson says these arrests should alert the public to the ongoing meth problem here in the panhandle.