Lake County sheriff canine Duke poses with drugs and a handgun that he assisted with recovering in Beach Park in August 2020. | Provided Photo.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Special Investigations Group seized a record $3 million worth of illegal drugs and 55 firearms in 2020, the same year the county was declared a high-intensity drug trafficking area by the feds.

The drug and gun busts resulted in a total of 350 felony charges, according to Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Lt. Christopher Covelli.

The drug seizures include nearly two pounds of heroin, more than two pounds of crack cocaine, five pounds of LSD, eight pounds of powder cocaine, more than 10 pounds of methamphetamine and more than 150 pounds of illegally trafficked cannabis.

The High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, which is operated under the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, designated Lake County into the program in June 2020.

The Special Investigations Group consists of 15 local and federal agencies. Covelli said the group was able to increase its efforts due to the additional support of the HIDTA program.

The program provides federal support to law enforcement agencies in designated counties with coordination, equipment, technology and additional resources to combat drug production and trafficking, placing an emphasis on high-level drug trafficking organizations.

The SIG also offers presentations to school educators, students, community organizations and neighborhood groups to keep the community informed of drug trends, warning signs and resources available.

“Drug traffickers in our communities do nothing but generate violence and destroy lives. Our Special Investigations Group seek and arrest high-level drug traffickers while providing assistance to those struggling with substance abuse disorders,” Sheriff John D. Idleburg said.

“We have seen a massive increase in the amount of methamphetamine being trafficked into Lake County and SIG will continue making it a priority to seek and arrest those trafficking meth, fentanyl, heroin, and other deadly drugs into our community,” Idleburg added. “I will always do everything I can to keep our community safe.”