Police arrest 13 men in statewide drug operation

Author: Mike Walcher
Published: Updated:

NAPLES, Fla.- Authorities say they’ve busted a major drug operation that sold narcotics statewide.

Collier County Sheriff’s deputies led the two year investigation and Thursday they carried out raids to round up suspects.

The investigation included large undercover purchases of cocaine. Authorities called it “Operation El Chaton” after the nickname of one of the suspects.

Deputies arrested 13 men, in raids that started at 3 a.m. Officers are seeking four other suspects.

Sheriff Kevin Rambosk says these men formed a loose organization. They knew each other through many years of working the drug trade in south Florida.

During the investigation detectives seized or purchased more than 13 kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of $442,000. Those involved in the conspiracy conspired to traffic approximately 30 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of approximately $1.02 million.

Thursday, detectives seized approximately 10 ounces of cocaine with a street value of $13,000 and approximately 6 pounds of high-grade marijuana with a street value of $18,000. Authorities also gathered approximately 14.46 ounces of methamphetamine with a street value $15,000, 6.5 grams of Xanax, four vehicles, two handguns and more than $40,000 in U.S. currency.

Sheriff Rambosk says the ring operated all over the state, with an emphasis on Collier and Miami-Dade counties.

“This will deal and has dealt a crushing blow to a major narcotics operation in South Florida and that is great for communities, and a great thing for law enforfcement..”

The statewide prosecutor will assist in pressing charges of conspiracy to sell narcotics against the suspects. They will be charged in state court.

The following suspects were arrested:

Erlin Y. Carrasco
Jonny Gonzalez-Tia
Tomas E. Ruiz-Serrano
Francisco Gato Jr.
Enrique Henry Lesende
Fredrico Solis-Contreras
Jose Miguel Diaz
Juan Rafael Ramos
Cristopher Thomas Ocampo
Joel Melqui Vanegas
Jeronimo Mendez-Cruz
Orlando Daniel Avalos
Nicolo Busi

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