What is the North Star Task Force?

August 6, 2022 Criminal Defense, Drug Charges, News & Announcements

Dangerous drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine are on the rise in Florida. We have previously covered cases in which marijuana or cocaine is found laced with fentanyl, creating deadly results for those who consume it.

With the growing popularity of illicit drugs in the state, various counties have come together to create a task force with over two dozen full-time and part-time law enforcement personnel. The task force is geographically situated between the Central Panhandle and Big Bend area in North Florida.  

We will explain what the new task force is and how they are working to combat drug use in the state, along with example cases.

Florida Sheriff’s Collaboration

With the recent challenges caused by the increase in methamphetamine and fentanyl in Florida, authorities sought to create a solution. The result was a collective strategy that is referred to as the North Star Task Force.

Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 23.1225, various Florida sheriff’s offices have used their statutory authority to enter a mutual aid agreement to assist each other from across jurisdictional lines. That means sheriffs have the ability to work outside of their usual jurisdiction to provide additional assistance to other sheriff’s offices.

The North Star Task Force was created in 2019 in the Big Bend area, which was chaired by the Wakulla County Sheriff, Jared Miller. The task force’s goal is to collaborate and investigate the importation, sales, and creation of fentanyl and methamphetamine, along with other illicit drugs.

The actions that are completed by the task force include debriefing confidential sources, controlled purchases of drugs, serving search warrants, conducting street-level operations, debriefing defendants, and making arrests.

The following list includes the sheriffs’ offices that are included in the North Star Task Force:

Using illegal substances is a serious offense in Florida. Aside from being against the law, it is extremely dangerous to use drugs. According to the 2020 Medical Examiners Report on Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons, there were 1,386 deaths that involved methamphetamine. There were 5,302 deaths that involved fentanyl.

Producing, using, or selling illicit drugs is against the law in Florida. There are serious consequences for drug charges in Florida, which include expensive fines and imprisonment. To find out more about potential drug charges and their penalties, read our informative page here.

Example Cases

There are several success stories already from the implementation of the North Star Task Force. The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office had an ongoing investigation of a man in his mid-50s who they believed was producing illicit drugs. The Sheriff’s Office had a confidential source provide them information that the man in question was distributing Crystal Meth. Wakulla County made a series of controlled purchases from the suspect and arrested them. The case was then on the threshold for a federal prosecution, so it was then transferred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida.

On July 25th, 2022, an investigation from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office in collaboration with the North Star Drug Task Force led to two arrests, seizure of firearms, and deadly narcotics. Joshua Baker, 37, and Samantha Osmun, 33, had outstanding warrants for their arrests. During their investigation the police were able to discover and recover the following items:

  • 25 grams of methamphetamine
  • Fentanyl
  • Cocaine
  • MDMA
  • Alpha-PVP
  • Oxycodone pills
  • Marijuana
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Two guns

Both individuals have been arrested and taken into custody at the Leon County Detention Center.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one have been accused of a drug crime in Florida, you should immediately seek out the assistance of a skilled Tallahassee drug defense lawyer in your area. Drug charges can range in severity depending on the type of illicit drug and the quantity. The penalties for drug charges can result in hefty fines, imprisonment, and make it extremely difficult for finding a job in the future. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law firm have experience representing clients all across the state, and will work tirelessly to build a strong defense to your case. For a free consultation call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today.

Written by Karissa Key

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