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A question of evidence: Did deposed Orange-Osceola state attorney deserve blame for failed drug trafficking cases?

To the Osceola County sheriff’s deputies who arrested Mary Figueroa for drug trafficking in June 2022, the evidence was ample: Ten baggies of white powder in her possession they said contained cocaine and fentanyl.

Just one problem. Florida’s state drug lab concluded the powder it tested contained no illegal drugs at all.

Still, less than a year later, Osceola County Sheriff Marcos López stood before the media to denounce State Attorney Monique Worrell for letting Figueroa walk.

Proclaiming that drug traffickers are “killing our communities,” López said that Worrell had failed to prosecute a single trafficking arrest his deputies made in 2022, later releasing a list of 74 cases to support his contention. Most of those same cases were cited by Gov. Ron DeSantis a few months later when he suspended the Orange-Osceola state attorney for “refusing to faithfully enforce the laws of Florida.”

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