On Tuesday, Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford announced the end of a four-month investigation, which led to the discovery of more than 18 pounds of crystal meth, $75,000 and 13 firearms.

PANAMA CITY — In the wake of a rise in methamphetamine-related cases, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office recently organized a drug bust believe to be connected with the Mexican Drug Cartel.


Dubbed Operation Fallen Angel, the four-month investigation unveiled more than 18 pounds of crystal meth, $75,000 and 13 firearms.


"The damage that the addiction crisis and these drugs do to our community goes far beyond just the effect it has on the individual," BCSO Sheriff Tommy Ford said during a press conference Tuesday. "It really tears at the fabric of our society."


Ford added that the confiscated meth has a street value of more than $500,000.


The drug ring included 10 people, who were supplied by Ulises "Angel" Perez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico. He has been deported four times for past crimes.


"This is a big one," said Lt. Kevin Francis, head of the BCSO narcotics division. "This guy is directly related to the Mexican Drug Cartel, ain’t no doubt about it."


According to Francis, Perez likely split his time between Bay County and Atlanta, where he would buy the meth.


Perez will once again be deported, but after finishing his sentence, which is likely to run about 25 years.


Other arrests in the case include Kizzy Patterson, Emily Persilver, Joseph Thomas, Freddie Knowles III, Alexander Morrison, Matthew Shavers, Christopher Hill and Scott Burkett. All have been charged with trafficking more than 400 grams of meth.


A BCSO press release only listed the addresses for Shavers, a Panama City Beach resident, and Knowles, who lives off of North Ridge Road in Bay County.


Ishmal Casado was also arrested in connection to the Perez, but has yet to be charged.


"We figure (Perez has) been doing this for a year or two," Francis said. "What we took is very minimal compared to what we know he brought into Bay County.


"It’s an ever-growing problem," he added. "We’re making arrests that are methamphetamine related every single day."


Alexander Morrison is a wanted fugitive in the case. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to contact the sheriff’s office or Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers.