LCSO: 43 people arrested in drug bust

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno announced the arrests of more than 40 people in what he described as an “extensive undercover investigation.”

Marceno made the announcements during a news conference on Tuesday after deputies served a search warrant at a home that Marceno said belonged to gang members.

He said the arrests are the results of a 4-months long investigation targeting drug dealers and traffickers in Lee County.

“Absolutely more are going to jail,” Marceno said.

The operation dubbed “sNOw Christmas” resulted in the arrest of 43 people and pulled in $176,000 worth of cocaine, methamphetamines and fentanyl. Thirteen firearms were also recovered, Marceno said.

WINK News obtained dozens of pages of arrest warrants, each one detailing how over the course of four months, confidential informants and undercover detectives worked together to schedule drug buys.

Two women, sisters Misty and Stephanie Proffitt, had 600 grams of fentanyl in their possession.

While most of the suspects were arrested during a 2-day span in December, the Proffitt sisters were arrested a month earlier.

“They had so much fentanyl at their house with children present that we had to make the arrest,” Marceno said. “Otherwise, there was a risk to the children in their household.”

The sheriff’s office said they are still searching for four suspects: Thomas Chapman, Sonceri Ocasió, Erica Melchiore and Devontay Ruffin.

“You will land yourself in the Lee County Jail and I don’t even care if it’s Christmas,” Marceno said. “If someone is dealing poison in this country they are going to jail, I don’t care.”

Marceno said he doubled the size of his narcotics task force to be able to make drug sweeps a priority.

“People rob, kill and steal for guns and drugs.”

Anyone with information on where those four suspected dealers might be are asked to call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). 

Watch the press conference in the player below or by clicking the link.

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