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Dozens Arrested In Panhandle Warrant Sweep

  “Operation Summer Heat” is the latest sweep of outstanding warrants by various law enforcement agencies in northwest Florida.

Sixty-nine suspects are named in the 95 warrants, in the latest joint investigation involving the Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Offices and U.S. Marshal’s Service.  The charges range from burglary and larceny, to assault and battery, drugs, weapons and child neglect.

Escambia Sheriff David Morgan says the roundup involved felony warrants, naming suspects authorities feel are an immediate danger.

“We have a lot of low-level warrants for individuals that are not violent, if you will; there’s no use of a firearm,” Morgan said. “But you’ll also notice repeat offenders for exploitation of the elderly and child abuse. Those are the individuals we want to remove from society.”

ECSO’s Lt. Randy Blake led about two dozen officers from the various agencies in serving the warrants.

“We spent about a month getting ready, putting the folders together,” Blake said. “There are several things that we look at to try to locate these people. That was done by the Warrants Unit, and then….we started on a Monday morning and we ended on Friday.’

Blake praised the public for its help in relaying information, adding that in some cases, they had to go to five or six different houses before locating a suspect. Sheriff David Morgan says that's a reminder that serving criminal warrants is a very dangerous business.

At this point, the cost of “Summer Heat” is still being tallied, but Morgan says warrant sweeps are not cheap – and that prevents them from staging more of them. The suspects are all housed in the Escambia County Jail’s main facility.