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Deputies: Lakeland heroin ringleader used food stamps

9:15 AM, Jun 15, 2011   |    comments
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Pablo Borgen

Lakeland, Florida - Neighbors are outraged that a Lakeland father, accused of pulling in thousands of dollars a month heading up a heroin operation, allegedly used taxpayer money to collect hundreds of dollars in food stamps.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how 43 year-old Pablo Borgen, who the Polk County Sheriff's Office says is in this country illegally, was able to qualify for $900 a month in food stamps.

Borgen was arrested wearing nothing but blue underwear early Tuesday morning at one of his four homes located at 1806 Jupiter Street in Lakeland. Borgen, a father, is one of more than 30 people arrested in one of the largest heroin stings ever in Polk County according to Sheriff Grady Judd.

Neighbors like Sherry Heise say they're relieved. "Get rid of them they don't need to be here." Heise says she's outraged at the news that Borgen is accused of also collecting hundreds of dollars a month in food stamps.

She says, "Hang him by his toes please because I've been out of work since February of '08 and I had to finally go on disability to earn some income. I lived for over a year on nothing but $200 in food stamps [a month]. I had to beg and borrow and then go back and beg and borrow."

Sheriff Grady Judd says the operation was a family affair. After a 14 month investigation they arrested 33 people including Borgen's wife and sister. Judd says some of the other suspects were also collecting food stamps.

Heise adds, "They're stealing from the people that need it. They steal when they sell the drugs. They steal when they go after stuff they don't qualify for. You know if you're bringing in $70,000 a month you don't need $900 in food stamps."

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Tammie Fields, 10 News

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