FORT MEADE | A 47-year-old man is being held in the Polk County Jail after being arrested by a Central Florida drug task force in September and accused of being tied to a violent drug cartel in Mexico.
A string of arrests on Sept. 30 centered around Gabriel Zamarripa, 47, of 1180 Meadow Lawn St. in Fort Meade, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The law enforcement investigation began earlier this year when detectives with the Central Florida High Intensity Drug Area task force received information about a drug trafficking organization.
The HIDTA task force is composed of detectives from the Bartow Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Haines City Police Department, the Lake Wales Police Department, PCSO, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Winter Haven Police Department.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, detectives made several undercover purchases of the drug before intercepting a package intended for Zamarripa that contained more than 4 pounds of methamphetamine. On Sept. 30, the task force seized about 15 pounds of the drug and more than $5,500 in cash from Zamarripa’s house.
The Zamarripa drug trafficking organization has ties to the Gulf cartel, one of the more violent drug cartels in North America and Mexico, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Zamarripa is charged with two counts of trafficking methamphetamine, two counts of maintaining a structure for drug use, one count of bringing methamphetamine into the state, two counts of paraphernalia possession, and one count of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine. He is being held in the Polk County Jail on a Nebbia hold, which requires confirmation that money used to pay his bail is not tied to illegal activities.
During the arrest, five others were also arrested.
Gabriel Zamarripa Jr., 20, of the same address, is charged with a count of possession of methamphetamine, a count of possession of marijuana, a count of paraphernalia possession. He was released from the Polk County Jail on Oct. 2 after posting a $3,500 bail.
Rodolfo Jalomo, 22, of Brownsville, Texas, is charged with trafficking in meth, conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, delivering methamphetamine, and possession of paraphernalia. He is also being held in the Polk County Jail on a Nebbia hold.
Elias Serrano Jr., 22, of 1165 Sand Mountain Road, in Fort Meade, is charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and two counts of paraphernalia. He is being held at the Polk County Jail with bail set at $17,000.
Brandy Kemp, 37, of 422 Citrus Highlands Drive in Bartow is charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, unlawful use of a two-way communication device, possession of paraphernalia, and three counts of violation of probation. She is being held at the Polk County Jail without bail for violating her probation.
Chester White Jr. of 39 North Cherokee Ave. in Fort Meade is charged with six counts of grand theft of a firearm, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, one count of possession of a forged ID, one count of dealing in stolen property, one count of trafficking in methamphetamine, and one count of maintaining a dwelling for drug use. He was released from the Polk County Jail on Sunday after posting a bail of $41,500.