ICE HSI, partner agencies announce success of narcotics operation
FORT MYERS, Florida – A Fort Myers-area narcotics enforcement task force announced 41 arrests and the seizure of nearly $650,000 worth of illegal drugs and more than $350,000 cash from illicit drug sales at a Thursday news conference. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Fort Myers Office, together with the State Attorney’s Office 20th Judicial Circuit and other law enforcement partners participated in the announcement.
The investigation initially began in the City of Fort Myers and focused on identifying and eradicating major narcotics suppliers within the city. During the investigation, law enforcement identified multiple individuals 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 County. During its investigation, the sheriff’s office identified numerous individuals allegedly responsible for the large-scale distribution of many narcotics, including cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.
HSI Fort Myers was the lead federal agency on this investigation, providing special agents and Title- 19 task force officers, along with federal resources, to work closely with state and local partners throughout the case.
This led to the seizure of 16 kilograms 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.
The arrested individuals are accused of being part of drug trafficking organizations which have plagued southwest Florida. This 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.
In late 2019, State Attorney Amira Fox created the task force to coordinate a circuit-wide approach to identifying, investigating, and dismantling long-term organized crime, narcotics, racketeering, and money-laundering criminal enterprises.
The task force covers Florida’s Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, and Hendry Counties. It includes HSI and all five sheriffs’ offices within the 20th Circuit, as well as the Cape Coral Police Department and the Fort Myers Police Department.