FORT MYERS, FL - September 15, 2020 - According to an online news report on WinkNews.com, Florida State Attorney Amira Fox gave a press conference announcing a massive drug sting operation that led to 41 arrests in 36 hours. The operation was part of a multi-agency drug investigation and law enforcement sting. The operation was launched after several months of preparation amongst several law enforcement agencies. The drug sting operation led to the confiscation of illegal drugs that had a value of nearly $650,000. The operation also led to the seizure of over $350,000 in cash.
The drug sting operation was administered by the Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, also known by the name NETFORCE. The sting was led by the Florida State Attorney's Office. Florida State Attorney Amira Fox created NETFORCE in 2019 in an effort to organize a "circuit-wide" method of investigating, identifying, and breaking up "long-term" organized crime, racketeering, narcotics, and money-laundering types of criminal operations.
The NETFORCE unit spans the Florida counties of Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Glades, and Hendry. The group also incorporates all five county sheriff's offices in the 20th Circuit, the Fort Myers Police Department, and the Cape Coral Police Department.
According to the news report, the drug crime probe originally started in the City of Fort Myers and concentrated on naming and eradicating primary illegal narcotics suppliers. During the drug probe, law enforcement named many people who were purportedly responsible for distributing methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, and heroin throughout Lee County and within the city of Fort Myers. As the drug crime probe continued, the Fort Myers Police Department named several individuals dealing narcotics in Collier County, Florida. The Collier County Sheriff's Office then launched a parallel probe to name and destroy the drug trafficking operation that was being run in Collier County, Florida.
According to the Collier County Sherrif's Office, several individuals were identified for supposedly being tied for the massive delivery of several drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. The report also stated that law enforcement agencies such as the Fort Meyers Police Department and the Collier County Sherrif's Office made several drug purchases and seizures that totaled 15 oz. of fentanyl, 12 pounds of marijuana, 16 kilos of cocaine, and 35.5 oz. of methamphetamine. The street value of the seized drugs was about $650,000.
The Fort Meyers Police Department seized about 2 kilos of cocaine that was being moved into Lee County, Florida. The Collier County Sherrif's Office seized another 12 kilos of cocaine that was being transported to Collier County, Florida.
The criminals implicated in this drug bust have been arrested and are being charged with conspiring to traffic 26 kilos of cocaine, 30 pounds of marijuana, 13 ounces of heroin, 85 oz. of methamphetamine, and 118 oz. of fentanyl. The combined street value of those drugs exceeded $1,300,000. According to the State Attorney's Office, the people arrested are working for a larger drug trafficking organization that has been plaguing the Southwest communities of Florida.
This NETFORCE operation is the inception of a sustained and cooperative effort amongst numerous law enforcement agencies.