A Florida sheriff known for his tough stance on illegal drugs arrested his own daughter on Monday in connection with a meth bust.
Sheriff A.J. “Tony” Smith, of Franklin County, Florida, was alerted to his adult daughter Kristen Kent’s alleged involvement in illegal drugs after a meth-trafficking suspect name-dropped her during a line of questioning. And when authorities set up a “controlled buy” to purportedly catch her in the act, the 38-year-old sheriff’s daughter allegedly showed up with drugs.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Smith told local news station WMBB. “The last person you ever want to arrest is one of your family members, especially your child. I mean, it’s like you can’t even put it into words. I don’t think it’s anything you wish on your worst enemy to do something like this.”
Kent has been charged with trafficking amphetamines, possession of drug equipment, and possession of cocaine. Another woman, Bailey Adaire Lee, 25, was arrested in the same investigation with two counts of amphetamine trafficking.
Meth, a highly addictive stimulant that floods a user’s brain with dopamine, has been called the “forgotten killer” due to the increased attention given in recent years to the opioid crisis. But in 2018, the sheriff started calling attention to the drug with a “Don’t Meth Around Campaign,” which involves posting the photos of the “Faces of Meth” on Facebook.
“Methamphetamine does not discriminate & neither do we. It does not matter who you are — no one is immune or exempt,” Smith wrote in a Facebook post following the arrest of his daughter. “Our hearts break over the grief meth causes all — whether you use it, sell it or love someone who is involved with it. If you want to break free from this lifestyle, we want to help you.”
His daughter’s face, like the faces of other meth suspects arrested, was included in the post.
Hundreds of people have commented on the sheriff’s post, with many sharing messages of support for the sheriff and hope for the women who were arrested.
“Prayers for both the ladies and their families. AJ Smith and all law enforcement has a tough job. Sometimes it comes down to arresting family members with the hope and prayers they will get the help they need,” said one user.
“Praying for these young women & their families. Nothing is ever too hard for God. He will heal the broken-hearted & restore them. Thankful that help is available,” said another.