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Florida Highway Patrol Arrests Narcotics Trafficker, Seizes 15,000 Fentanyl Pills

The Florida Highway Patrol seized more than 15,000 fentanyl pills in Central Florida and arrested a narcotics trafficker. Law enforcement said the deadly fentanyl pills disguised as OxyContin prepped and ready to sell.

While conducting patrol operations in the area of Old Canoe Creek Road and Kissimmee Park Road in Osceola County, Troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Criminal Intervention Unit (CIU) witnessed a white Mercedes SUV unlawfully change lanes while cutting off a marked State Patrol unit. The Mercedes appeared to have illegal tint, and the attached temporary tag did not return to any vehicle.

As troopers attempted to conduct a traffic stop, the subject vehicle fled the area and reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour, side-swiping another motorist, and driving the wrong way on a public road multiple times while being followed by marked units. After State Troopers initiated a pursuit to apprehend the fleeing felon driver, he failed to negotiate a curve and crashed. State Troopers took the driver, a white male identified as 22-year-old Jonathan Nicola, of Kissimmee, into custody for felony fleeing and eluding, among many other serious traffic related charges.

As Troopers cleared the vehicle to ensure no other occupants were present, a digital scale and numerous small baggies were observed within the driver’s door pocket. An FHP Trooper and K-9 arrived, and while walking around the subject vehicle, the K-9 positively alerted to the presence of narcotics. A search of the vehicle found a loaded 9mm handgun, drug paraphernalia, and a box containing a clear vacuum-sealed bag containing 15,000 fentanyl pills made to look like OxyContin.

After verifying the vehicle information, it was confirmed to be a stolen vehicle out of Lee County, Florida, with a fake temporary tag and cloned VINs on both the door and the window. The suspect, Jonathan Nicola, a habitual traffic offender, was arrested and transported to the Orange County Jail without bond on the following charges:

  • Trafficking in Fentanyl 4 Grams or More-Felony
  • Synthetic Narcotic Manufacturing Schedule I or II-Felony
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance Without a Prescription-Felony
  • Possession of Drug Equipment/Paraphernalia used to Manufacture/Transport Drugs-Felony
  • Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle-Felony
  • Possession of a Vehicle with Altered Numbers-Felony
  • Weapons Offense-Use/Display Firearm During Felony-Felony
  • Flee/Elude Police-Aggravated Fleeing with Injury or Damage-Felony
  • Moving Traffic Violation-Reckless Driving with Damage to Person/Property-Misdemeanor

“Despite the unabated flow of Fentanyl flowing into our nation through the open southern border, State Troopers wake up every day willingly putting themselves in high-risk situations like this, so that they can put evil people behind bars,” said Executive Director Dave Kerner. “Despite the advantages the drug cartels reap from the open border, the Florida Highway Patrol will never back down from the mission Governor DeSantis has assigned us; keep our communities safe and fight back against the cartel driven devastation.”

The investigation remains active and ongoing, according to state law enforcement.

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