Fifteen kids cuffed on the sidewalk of Orange Park, a Florida suburb, while a house is swarmed with police in tactical armor and SWAT vehicles. Sheriff Darryl Daniels, holding a travel mug and dressed like John Walsh, greets the audiences in a viral approach to law enforcement. It’s a colossal spectacle for what was proposed to be a major opioid operation bust. But despite all the pomp and circumstance, all officials could dredge up was some weed and a handful of party drugs.
“You know I’ve warned and warned again, that’s why we call this ‘Operation You Were Warned,’” said Sheriff Daniels in a video that has nearly 3.5 million views on Facebook. “One day you’ll be sleeping at night, or early one morning, and you’ll hear a bang and a lot of noise and the end result and the outcome will be me standing in your living room, like I said, drinking my morning cup of coffee.”
“Fifteen going to jail, three big gulps,” said Sheriff Daniels between sips. From the curb, one woman can be heard shouting “Are you kidding me right now?”
The opioid crisis is nothing to take lightly. After generations of harmful painkillers being subscribed across America, a nationwide addiction crisis is hitting communities unlike ever before. Clay County’s Sheriff Daniels seems hoping that by being cinematic, he’ll achieve a scared straight effect, though its results aren’t matching its dramaturgy.
According to The Appeal, the spectacular bust had not resulted in any opioids being confiscated from the so-called ‘narcotics house.’ Of the 15, there were five adults arrested and one juvenile. They discovered less than 40 grams of cannabis, one of the arrested tested positive for cocaine and MDMA, but that’s about it. On-site they thought they discovered 1.2 grams of heroin and fentanyl, but those substances failed to show up in the results of lab tests.
Since his election, Sheriff Daniels has increased the amount of drug-related arrests in Clay County. A former deputy tells The Appeal that they aren’t surprised by Sheriff Daniels’ extra behavior and that his appeals to celebritydom and giant raids on handfuls of drugs as “a damn joke.”