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BCSO drug bust ends with the arrest of two men, almost 12 pounds of meth seized

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 8:29 PM CDT
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LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Bay County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday it made one of the larger meth busts sheriff’s officials have seen in the county.

“We keep coming back to you with these seizures and there’s just a large quantity of methamphetamine as we have talked about is coming over the southern border into our country and into our county,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said.

Ford said they arrested Ricardo Estrada-Delao, who he says is an illegal alien from Mexico and has been in the country for about three months.

“The danger of that is we don’t know anything about this person. We don’t know what his background is,” said Ford.

Ford said they conducted several days of surveillance on Estrada-Delao, which resulted in getting two search warrants for two rooms he was staying in at the Holiday Inn Express in Panama City Beach. In one room, investigators said they found roughly 10.5 pounds of crystal meth, 12 pounds of marijuana, more than $7,000 in cash, and a stolen gun.

“It’s so destructive to our community as a whole,” said Ford.

Ford said they also arrested Joseph Butterworth, a local from Panama City, after a traffic stop where they seized another pound of meth and three pounds of marijuana. Ford said they believe Butterworth got the drugs from Estrada-Delao.

“Sometimes we’ve seen these cases where loads come in and some of it is able to get out into our community before we get to it, but that wasn’t the case here,” Special Investigations Division Lieutenant Kevin Francis said.

Francis said this is probably one of the biggest single seizures they’ve had.

“For us to get this all at one time, this amount, that’s pretty big,” said Francis.

“This drug destroys lives. It tears at the fabric of our community and we’re going to do everything in our power to get these drugs off of our streets,” said Ford.

Ford said the arrests of Estrada-Delao and Butterworth are separate from previous investigations.

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