A Polk County mother has been arrested on drug charges. Undercover detectives say Lydia Santiago of Bartow is the kingpin in a methamphetamine operation that brought in more than one million dollars a year.
When investigators arrested her on State Road 60 on Tuesday, they seized two pounds of meth, and $8,000. They also discovered something unsettling in her car -- four of her seven children.
Her kids range in age from 4 years old to 23 years old. After she was arrested, investigators took Santiago to her house.
"I do want to point out that while we were at her house searching, we recovered a half pound of cannabis. She was quick to say, ‘oh by the way, I don't smoke cannibus.I just keep it for the kids because they like to smoke,' " recounted Polk Sheriff Grady Judd.
"What a mom!," he commented.
Detectives say Santiago is unusual in two ways. She is a woman who was running a very big drug operation, and she was cooperative with authorities.
They say that cooperation lead to the drug arrests of six men on drug charges and the discovery of a so-called "stash house" in Winter Haven where drugs were stored until they're needed.