Karlee Harbst, 27, was arrested in a major drug bust nearly a year to the day she became a millionaire from a scratch-off lottery ticket
A Florida woman has been arrested in a major drug bust nearly a year to the day after she became a millionaire from a scratch-off lottery ticket.
Karlee Harbst, 27, has been charged with solicitation to deliver heroin and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
Harbst was one of eight people arrested in connection to the drug trafficking ring after a nearly year-long investigation dubbed ‘Operation: Smooth Criminal’.
Arrest warrants are active for 14 more suspects.
The lottery win appeared to be a fresh start for Harbst, who had been arrested six times since 2011 for drug-related charges.
Harbst was pregnant when she discovered she had scratched off a $1million ticket in the Gold Rush Doubler Scratch-Off game last May.
Harbst was pregnant when she discovered she had scratched off a $1million ticket in the Gold Rush Doubler Scratch-Off game last May (pictured)
Harbst (in court on Friday) has been charged with solicitation to deliver heroin and unlawful use of a two-way communication device
She had won $100 off the same game just a week beforehand.
Harbst revealed at the time that she almost didn’t buy the $1million ticket, until she saw it was her favorite number, according to WESH.
Last year’s lottery win appeared to be a fresh start for Harbst, who had been arrested six times since 2011 for drug-related charges
‘When I saw the ticket was number 24, I had to get it,’ she said. ’24 is my favorite number.’
Harbst opted to receive her winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment of $745,000.
But on Friday Harbst was appearing before a judge, who set her bail at $50,000.
Authorities seized 20 firearms, luxury cars, large amounts of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and at least $250,000 in cash during the drug bust on Thursday.
Three of the guns had been stolen, including a shotgun that was taken from a sheriff deputy’s patrol car in 2016, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Harbst was arrested on Thursday morning at her home (pictured) in Port Orange, Florida
Authorities seized at least $250,000 in cash (pictured) during the drug bust on Thursday. Eight people, including Harbst, were arrested
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said the organization was distributing 3 kilograms of heroin to the area every week and dealers were selling thousands of dollars in drugs every day.
‘The message is loud and clear to these scumbags out there: if you come into this county and insist on dealing this poison and destroying families, the whole force of the federal justice system will fall on you,’ he said in a statement.
‘You want to spend the rest of your life behind bars, have at it. We’re going to oblige you.’
Authorities discovered a safe full of cash (pictured) during their arrests on Thursday
Police also seized large amounts of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine during the drug bust
Authorities also seized 20 firearms during the drug trafficking bust on Thursday
Authorities said Marcel ‘MJ’ Green, 31, and Robert Hamilton Jr, 34, were the ringleaders of the operation.
They were among the eight arrested on Thursday, as was Kenneth Rowell, who is believed to be the organization’s supplier.
Chitwood said Green had described himself ‘as cool and as slick as Michael Jackson’.
It inspired the operation’s name ‘Smooth Criminal’, which is also the title of a Michael Jackson song.
Pictured are more of the weapons that were seized in connection to the drug trafficking ring