Police Use LGBTQ Dating Apps to Make More Than 60 Drug-Related Arrests in Sting Operation

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Sarah Weaver Staff Writer
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Authorities in Florida have been going under cover over the last six months on dating apps such as Grindr and Scruff to make more than 60 drug-related arrests, according to The Hill.

Authorities say the apps, designed for LGBTQ+ individuals, have been used to sell methamphetamine, cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD, Fentanyl, and marijuana through code words and emojis, The Hill reported.

The operation, called “Swipe Left for Meth,” reportedly started back in July when Polk County police were first notified of the potential illegal activity going on through these apps.

“We’ve known for some time that suspects will use the Internet and social media to prey upon children online or to engage in prostitution,” the Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement, “but this is something we are seeing more and more of in Polk County – suspects who are using dating apps to sell illegal narcotics.”

The investigation has led to 159 total felony charges and 72 misdemeanor charges, The Hill reported.

During a news conference, Judd said 14 firearms were confiscated during the investigations and arrests.

Authorities emphasized that the individuals arrested had no interest in dating and were merely active on the platforms to sell drugs. “It was clear during the conversations and ensuing undercover drug buys that the suspects’ primary purposes for being on the dating app were to sell drugs – not to find a date,” the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. (RELATED: Man Pleads Guilty To Hate Crimes For Using Dating App To Lure Gay Men And Rob, Kidnap Them)

The dating app Grindr emphasized in a statement that selling drugs is prohibited on their applications. “Our moderation team works hard every day to ban bad actors while maintaining the privacy and security of our users,” the company’s Vice President Bill Shafton said in a statement to CNN.