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A little more than a year ago, Karlee Harbst was the smiling winner of a $1 million prize in the Florida Lottery. Had they won even a price of $100 a week earlier.
The money came at a good time, because Harbst was reportedly pregnant.
But last week, the 27-year-old Port Orange woman was among more than 20 suspects held by the police in a large drug bust, according to reports. She was reportedly charged with the request to provide of heroin, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device, and made her first appearance Friday in connection with the case.
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Her lottery win had indicated a chance for Harbst to her life after a criminal history that has previous arrests for drug possession, theft, contempt of court and driving with a suspended license, according to the Miami Herald.
Last May, Karlee Harbst won $1 million in the Florida Lottery’s Gold Rush game, according to reports. (Florida Lottery)
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But instead, they got involved with the operators of a large drug trafficking that peddled heroin, fentanyl and cocaine, according to Florida law enforcement authorities.
“These are not nice people,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood told the Daytona Beach News-Journal last week, with reference to the alleged leaders and others who were arrested.
Authorities hope that the bust, dubbed “Operation: Smooth Criminal,” will contribute to reducing the drug traffic in an area that saw 300 deaths between 2017 and 2018, the News-Journal reported.
Florida Lottery winner Karlee Harbst, 27, was among suspects arrested in “Operation: Smooth Criminal,” authorities say. (Volusia County Corrections Department)
Nine of the suspects were linked to the organization, while others were nabbed in a series of raids in Volusia County, according to the paper.
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Volusia County, including Daytona Beach, is located on the Atlantic coast of Florida, northeast of Orlando.
Back at Harbst won the lottery, she appeared on local TV and said they have purchased a ticket because of the number, the Herald reported.
“When I saw that the ticket number 24, I had to get it. Twenty-four is my favorite number,” she reportedly told Orlando’s WESH-TV.
After last week’s drug bust, according to the authorities, it looks like Harbst is the number.