Published: Oct 25, 2012 3:19 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with The Florida Sheriffs Task Force, recently launched an initiative to remove felons from Florida’s streets. Operation: Felon Sweep focused on removing violent felons, felons with outstanding warrants, and sexual offenders and predators from our communities.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office was proud to take an active role in this initiative and to lead the charge in Lee County. The sweep began on September 28, 2012 and concluded on October 22nd. Deputies with the Sheriff’s Office arrested individuals on charges ranging from homicide to prescription fraud, armed robbery, sexual assault and burglary. In total, 458 felons were snatched off Lee County streets and put behind bars on for 1,074 felony charges accompanied by 305 misdemeanor charges. Additionally, 419 sexual offenders were checked with 3 arrested on violations.

Among those located and charged over the three weeks included Scott Sica (age 36) for an out of state murder; Robert Ortiz on multiple charges including armed home invasion, fleeing and eluding and drug charges; Christopher Bean (age 28) for 33 felony charges and 6 misdemeanors; Fred Johnson (age 47) on 44 felonies; Robert Benti (age42) for 12 counts prescription fraud; Alex Goudette (age 20) for burglary with assault/battery; Jesse Racco (age 18) on home invasion with a weapon; and, hundreds more.

The Florida Sheriffs Task Force is proud to have coordinated this effort to make Florida’s streets a safer place for its citizens. This operation combined efforts from 43 Sheriff’s Offices and focused on removing violent felons and felons with outstanding warrants off the streets. Across Florida, the Operation resulted in 11,875 arrests and seized close to a thousand pounds of illegal drugs. “Felonies are taken very seriously and we at the Florida Sheriffs Association are proud to lead this initiative to get criminals off the streets,” said FSA President, Sheriff Susan Benton. “The Florida Sheriffs Task Force will continue to work tirelessly to make Florida one of the safest states in the country.”

The Florida Sheriffs Task Force pools resources from the 67 Sheriffs’ Offices to address specific areas of concern. Past task forces have dealt with issues such as cyber sexual predators, prescription drug abuse and “deadbeat dads.” The Florida Sheriffs Task Force also is the point of contact for statewide initiatives, including helping to staff the State Emergency Operations Center and coordinating Sheriffs' offices responding to storm-ravaged communities during hurricanes and other catastrophic disasters.