Citrus sheriff: $970,000 in drugs seized in biggest narcotics bust in county's recent history

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Nearly a million dollars of narcotics are off the streets in what the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is calling the biggest drug bust in its history.

Investigators searched two different homes last Friday. During a routine probation check, deputies went to the home of 33-year-old Daniel Battisti – located at 11 South Washington in Beverly Hills -- and confronted him on their suspicions of illegal activity. A probation officer found illegal drugs, and a search warrant was obtained. 

After the search, detectives said they found: 167 grams of methamphetamine, 100.2 grams of cocaine, 691 tablets of prescription drug cyclobenzaprine, 89 tablets of prescription drug tizanidine, 60 pills of MDMA/Molly, 1,960 grams of leaf cannabis and 30.1 pounds of processed cannabis wax, totaling 34.3 pounds of cannabis.

Officials said the street value estimated to be about $970,000. They said Battiste was on parole for grand theft from New York and was allowed to be in Florida following an interstate compact. He was arrested on several drug-related charges, including trafficking. Deputies said he could face 140 years in prison, if convicted. 

Probation officers and detectives also executed a search warrant at 726 North Griffith Avenue in Crystal River, which led to the arrests of 41-year-old Jeffery Conner and 40-year-old Lisa Bonugli on several drug-related charges. Officials said a stolen utility trailer from Orlando was located at the address.

Citrus County detectives said Tuesday that Battisti is considered to be the “highest-level” drug dealer deputies have encountered since Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast has been in office.

“When I got elected sheriff, I told the drug dealers they can run, but they can’t hide,” he said during a press conference. “If they’re going to sell drugs in this county, I’m coming after them.”