Twenty-seven drug traffickers and their associates from across Southwest Florida have been arrested, State Attorney Amira Fox announced Friday.
The arrests resulted from the work of a Narcotics Enforcement Task Force (NETFORCE) joint undercover investigation, which is part of “Operation Woot-de-Woot,” Fox said. The task force was created in 2020.
Drug trafficking:Head of Fort Myers drug trafficking operation sentenced to more than 24 years federal prison
Related arrests:Man trapped in Naples portable toilet charged with multiple drug counts
“Even as we stand here today, many members of this wonderful law enforcement team have been serving arrests and search warrants to locate and arrest drug traffickers, and continue to rid our streets of dangerous narcotics,” Fox said during a news conference in the Lee County Port Authority Training and Conference Center at Southwest Florida International Airport.
Team members recovered 19 firearms; almost $200,000 worth of cocaine; 4 kilos of heroin; 7 kilos worth of MDMA/ecstasy; 2 pounds of fentanyl; more than 1,000 grams of meth; and $146,000 in currency, Fox announced.
Among those present were Naples police Chief Tom Weschler; Marco Island police Chief Tracy Frazzano; Fort Myers police Chief Derrick Diggs; Cape Coral police Chief Anthony Sizemore; Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno; and Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk.
“As you all can see, great things happen when all of us get together as a team and work on eradicating drugs in our community,” Fox said.
Fox said the investigation began in Cape Coral and was focused on identifying and eradicating major narcotics suppliers and violent offenders within city limits.
Then, she said, that expanded onto Fort Myers.
The operation currently covers Lee, Collier, Hendry, Glades and Charlotte counties.
“The first thing we did was make a phone call locally to our partners, Chief Diggs and Sheriff Marceno,” Sizemore said. “Because of the outstanding partnership and the relationship we already have, we immediately launched a regional investigation that grew as you can see on the stage here.”
Marceno was among those invited to speak on the podium Friday.
“It doesn’t matter what patch or uniform you wear,” Marceno said. “Our state attorney said our drug dealers work late at night. Drug dealers don’t know boundaries.”
Fox said the investigation is ongoing.
Tomas Rodriguez is a Breaking/Live News Reporter for The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. You can reach Tomas at TRodriguez@gannett.com or 772-333-5501. Follow him on Twitter @TomasFRoBeltran.