CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A “long-time” Citrus County drug dealer was arrested Thursday after deputies said he failed to outrun authorities who tried to stop him for a minor traffic violation.
According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, 40-year-old Matthew Mullins, of Homosassa, was pulled over for a minor traffic violation Thursday, but that’s when things took a turn.
Deputies said Mullins fled in his vehicle, driving in a “reckless” manner. His efforts, however, were short-lived as another CCSO deputy was stationed only a short distance away at the intersection of CR 491 and West Cardinal Street, in Lecanto with a tire deflation device.
“Knowing his time was running out, Mullins threw a large baggie of what was later determined to be fentanyl out of the vehicle’s window,” the sheriff’s office said in a release. “After discarding the fentanyl and realizing his vehicle was inoperable, Mullins pulled his vehicle to the side of the road without further incident.”
Authorities said the bag of fentanyl ruptured when it hit the ground, causing some of the contents to scatter across the grass shoulder.
Due to the deadly airborne substance, the Citrus County Fire Service Hazmat Team was called to collect the fentanyl and decontaminated the area.
Deputies said the fentanyl weighed in at approximately 51 grams, enough to kill approximately 25,500 people.
A search of Mullins vehicle yielded roughly 200 grams of methamphetamine, Xanax pills, and about 0.65 grams of fentanyl on his person.
“The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office continues our commitment to combat illicit narcotics in our community. Mullins has a long history of selling narcotics and has actively fled deputies in the past to avoid arrest,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “Today, he not only endangered the citizens of Citrus County with his reckless actions while fleeing, but he could have exposed citizens and law enforcement to the extremely fatal substance fentanyl.
Mullins was arrested and charged with fleeing and eluding law enforcement, trafficking in methamphetamine, trafficking in fentanyl, possession of a controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia, and tampering with evidence.
His bond was set at $113,000.