FORT MYERS, FL - According to an online news report posted on news-press.com, the Lee County Sheriff Department conducted an undercover drug sting operation that resulted in 18 people being placed under arrest in Lee County, Florida. At the arrest, the law enforcement officers seized approximately one pound of Fentanyl and several different illegal drugs.
According to Carmine Marceno, the Lee County Sheriff, the drug crime investigation was named Operation Checkmate. The Lee County Sheriff provided the media with details about the long investigation and the results of the operation. At the briefing, in front of local media, the operation was part of a months-long investigation.
Backed by hooded and armed drug detectives at the Sheriff's Office headquarters, Marceno briefly outlined the operation.
The Lee County Sheriff stated that the Lee County Sheriff's Department is targeting drug dealers, and the Lee County Sheriff's Office narcotics detectives finished a large, multi-month investigation that targeted drug dealers who were dealing drugs in Bonita Springs and South Fort Myers.
The Lee County Sheriff stated that several units from the Lee County Sheriff's Office operated with the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force's assistance. The Lee County Sheriff told the media that officers involved in the drug-dealing sting operation administered surveillance and conducted several purchases of controlled narcotics. Also, law enforcement confiscated crack cocaine, heroin, prescription pills, and methamphetamines, in addition to the 390 grams of Fentanyl.
According to the Sherriff, investigators identified key suspects and discovered the suspects were known members of the Latin Kings gang. The Sheriff also stated that their investigators successfully infiltrated the group.
The drug-dealing sting operation ended with 18 arrests, and four more suspects are at large and are wanted by law enforcement. The Sherriff also stated that a few of the individuals arrested are known to have significant drug connection. The Sherriff did not state which of the suspects is directly connected to the Latin Kings gang.
Some have stated that not all of those arrested are connected to the gang or the criminal drug organization. In one arrest, a 38-year-old woman was arrested for leaving the scene of a crash and two counts of possessing controlled drugs without a prescription. The woman is in a treatment facility to treat her for her addiction, and if she succeeds in the program, the criminal charges will be dismissed. However, the Sherriff lists her as one of those under investigation in the drug operation.
Six individuals have been arrested and charged with heroin/opium trafficking charges. Another seven people have been arrested and charged with cocaine possession and sales. One suspect was arrested and charged with fentanyl trafficking, as well as possession and sales of meth. One suspect has been charged with marijuana trafficking. And another suspect has been charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. Law enforcement is still searching for four more suspects connected with the illegal drug operation.