Joint task force nabs 27 accused drug traffickers and associates in SWFL

Reporter: Marcello Cuadra
Published: Updated:

The State Attorney’s Office hosted a joint press conference to announce a joint task force nabbed 27 accused drug traffickers and their associates in Southwest Florida in operation “WOOT-DE-WOOT”.

Along with the arrests, approximately two pounds of Fentanyl, more than 1,000 grams of cocaine, almost $200,000 of cocaine, and many more drugs, along with
$146,037 in cash was also seized.

The investigation initially began in Cape Coral focusing on identifying and eradicating major narcotics suppliers and violent offenders there and in Fort Myers.

During the investigation, law enforcement identified multiple people who were responsible for the distribution of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, MDMA, molly/bath salts, marijuana, oxycodone, and Alprazolam within Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and throughout Lee and Collier Counties.

Florida State Attorney Amira Fox created the NETFORCE to nab accused drug traffickers like these. “This week and even as we stand here today, many members of this wonderful law enforcement team have been serving arrest and search warrants to locate and arrest drug traffickers and continue to read our streets of dangerous narcotics,” Fox said.

Narcotic sources of supply were identified as far away as Florida’s east coast.

The arrested suspects are alleged members of drug trafficking organizations which have targeted Southwest Florida, the State Attorney’s Office said. Adding in a statement, “These arrests will severely impact their ability to do business in our community.”

In late 2019, State Attorney Amira 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.

“This NETFORCE operation has resulted in the arrest of 27 drug traffickers and their associates from throughout southwest Florida,” said Fox.

The following agencies worked together in this successful operation: the Cape Coral Police Department, Fort Myers Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, Naples Police Department, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, Marco Island Police Department, ATF, FDLE, DEA, Glades County Sheriff’s Office, and Customs and Border Protection.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno says removing fentanyl from our streets can save lives. “Every time you take poison off the streets, a grain of salt of fentanyl can kill a person. When you take two pounds of fentanyl off, you’re talking about saving lives everywhere,” said Sheriff Marceno.

LCSO was just one of the agencies involved in NETFORCE and now, Sheriff Marceno has a message. “The drug dealers need to see this, Okay, anyone else out there that’s dealing poison on the streets? Leave while you can. Southwest Florida is not going to tolerate your behavior,” Marciano said.

Watch the news conference in the player below or click here.

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