Hollywood man accused of selling drugs out of his home

Probation officer, neighborhood groups assist investigation, police say

Aquile Ballate

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Hollywood police have arrested a man accused of selling fentanyl and heroin out of his home.

Miranda Grossman, a spokeswoman for the Hollywood Police Department, said Aquile Ballate, 47, faces a number of charges, including trafficking fentanyl and heroin and possessing methamphetamine and cocaine.

An investigation into a methamphetamine trafficking ring in Hollywood led to Ballate's arrest Friday, Grossman said.

Ballate's probation officers and neighborhood groups assisted detectives with the investigation, Grossman said. Ballate had been on probation after being convicted of grand theft auto in Miami-Dade County in 2013.

Police found 2.8 grams of cocaine, 21.3 grams of fentanyl, 11.8 grams of heroin, and 0.5 grams of methamphetamine inside Ballate's home in the 800 block of North 11th Avenue.

Hollywood police described Ballate as a known drug trafficker. In October, Broward County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Ballate on drug-related charges in Dania Beach.

Ballate is currently being held at the North Broward Bureau Jail in Pompano Beach in lieu of on more than $300,000 bond.

Ballate's case is the second high-profile arrest involving fentanyl this month in Hollywood.

On Feb. 1, Ayesha Henry, 29, was arrested after police said she tried to sell about $400 worth of fentanyl to undercover officers.

A potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl is 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin. The drug is often used by dealers to increase the potency of the heroin they sell.

Public health authorities say fentanyl-laced heroin is major cause of fatal overdoses, which have been steadily increasing in recent years.