LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott entered 2012 with the resolve to send a clear message to Lee County felons: "Stop plying your illegal trade on our highways and streets."
In an aggressive, two-month, multi-level approach, detectives with the Sheriff’s Office Narcotics, P.I.L.S. (Pharmaceutical Investigations Law Enforcement Strategy), Vice, Highway Interdiction and Felony Warrants Units, along with assistance from the Innocent Images Task Force launched multiple investigations in Operation Street Sweeper. In this time, more than 200 arrests have resulted in interrupting narcotics distribution, prostitution, internet sex crimes and the removal of wanted fugitives off Lee County streets.
“Just as our local roadway crews sweep our streets and collect trash from the roadside, these professionals have done there own brand of clean up,” said Sheriff Scott. “We’ve seized almost $5 million in illegal drugs, money and property, interceded in identity theft, scooped up wanted felons and plucked a variety of individuals off the street and information highways conducting the business of sexual exploitation of all ages.”
The Sheriff's Office P.I.L.S. Unit wrapped it's two months of activity with a round up earlier today where 18 of 37 wanted suspects have been captured. Those targeted in the sweep are being charged in connection with what is commonly referred as "Dr. Shopping." All totaled, the accused amassed close to 250,000 pills with a street value of approximately $3 million.
Prior to today, Narcotics Division's Highway Interdiction efforts have brought several organized traffickers and thieves to an abrupt stop initially enforcing traffic laws only to find the illegal contraband as itemized here:
*5.5 kilos of cocaine have been seized with a street value in excess of $200,000 dollars.
*92 pounds of marijuana was seized with a street value in excess of $275,000 dollars.
*125,000 doses of Ecstasy was seized through parcel interdiction with a street value of approximately $1,250,000 dollars.
*$88,000 dollars in cash was seized.
*$17,000 dollars worth of stolen property was recovered.
*$50,000 dollars worth of grow equipment seized.
*63 fraudulent credit cards were seized with a value of approximately $630,000 dollars.
*10 identity theft arrests were made with the number of fraud victims totaling upwards of 600 and combined potential losses of $600,000 dollars.
Also during the period, 2 grow houses were discovered with 165 marijuana plants seized with a street value of approximately $500,000.00 dollars. Sixty-five total arrests were made by the division which included one for metal theft (frequent scrapper) and 15 prostitution arrests.
Last week, the Fugitive Warrants Unit of the Sheriff's Office conducted a dedicated sweep of violent, dangerous, serious crime felons. The 39 fugitives were located and arrested on a wide range of charges. Since the first of January, the detectives have 185 apprehensions.
In conjunction with the Innocent Images Task Force, comprised of investigators with the FBI, Cape Coral Police Department, Clewiston Police Department and the Lee County Sheriff's Office, internet child pornography suspects were identified as Lee County offenders of this despicable activity to exploit children. Five (5) men have been charged including one suspect taken into custody in Louisiana.
The successful accomplishments of the detectives and members during the proactive operation were further enhanced by the participation of deputies with the Street Crimes Unit, District Patrol SET teams, Special Operations Unit, Communications Division, K9 and Aviation Units.