‘We will come after you’: Multi-agency sting nets 41 drug arrests in 36 hours in SWFL

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:

A multi-agency effort has netted 41 drug arrests in 36 hours in Southwest Florida, State Attorney Amira Fox said Thursday.

The sting was the culmination of a months-long effort and involved the confiscation of illegal drugs valued at more than $649,665 and more than $350,000 in cash.

The operation was conducted by the Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, known as NETFORCE, led by the State Attorney’s Office.

In late 2019, Fox created NETFORCE to coordinate a circuit-wide approach to identifying, investigating, and dismantling long-term organized crime, narcotics, racketeering, and money-laundering criminal enterprises.

NETFORCE covers Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, and Hendry counties. It includes all five sheriff’s offices within the 20th Circuit, as well as the Cape Coral Police Department and the Fort Myers Police Department.

The investigation initially began in the City of Fort Myers and was focused on identifying and eradicating major narcotics suppliers within the city. During the investigation, law enforcement identified multiple individuals who are allegedly responsible for the distribution of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine within the city, and throughout Lee County.

As the investigation progressed, the Fort Myers Police Department identified targets that were also distributing narcotics in Collier County. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office then began a parallel investigation to identify and dismantle the drug trafficking operation that was operating within Collier.

During its investigation, CCSO identified numerous individuals allegedly responsible for the largescale distribution of many dangerous narcotics, including cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.

The agencies said FMPD and CCSO purchased or seized approximately 16 kilos of cocaine, 15 oz. of fentanyl, nearly 12 pounds of marijuana, and 35.5 oz. of methamphetamine, with an approximate total street value of $649,665.

In just one day during the month of May, FMPD seized 2 kilos of cocaine coming into Lee County and CCSO seized 12 kilos of cocaine coming into Collier County.

The criminal targets involved in this case are accused of conspiring to traffic in a total of 26 kilos of cocaine, 13 ounces of heroin, 30 pounds of marijuana, 118 oz. of fentanyl, and 85 oz. of methamphetamine, with a combined street value of $1,302,700.

The individuals arrested are accused of being part of drug trafficking organizations that the State Attorney’s Office says plague Southwest Florida.

Watch Fox’s announcement at a press conference held Thursday:

This NETFORCE operation is the start of continuing cooperative efforts among law enforcement agencies and an ongoing commitment to fighting drugs and making Southwest Florida a safer place for its citizens.

The SAO added the arrests are the result of the hard work of the following law enforcement agencies: The State Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Fort Myers Police Department, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Cape Coral Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Glades County Sheriff’s Office, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County Port Authority Police Department, DEA, U.S. Marshals, FDLE, Louisiana State Police, Broward Sheriff’s Office, Plantation Police Department, Wilton Manor Police Department, South Florida Financial Crimes Strike Force, South Florida High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), and Customs and Border Protection.

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