Year long cocaine trafficking operation nets twelve arrests

A yearlong Collier County Sheriff’s Office investigation into illegal drug activity in Immokalee culminated with the arrests of 12 people Thursday morning June 16 on cocaine trafficking and state racketeering charges.

Detectives with CCSO’s Vice and Narcotics Bureau partnered with the 20th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the special operation.

“This investigation, initiated by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, has been ongoing for approximately one year and today numerous significant drug traffickers attached to multiple organizations were arrested,” Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said. “These arrests will severely impact the ability of these individuals to conduct illicit business in Southwest Florida for quite some time.”

Detectives say the investigation uncovered a drug trafficking operation that received powder cocaine from Texas via Mexico. The cocaine was supplied to Immokalee, where it was distributed in Southwest Florida as crack and powder cocaine.

During the investigation, the suspects conspired to traffic approximately 11 ½ kilograms of cocaine with a wholesale value of approximately $369,350, detectives said.

The investigation marked the second significant drug enforcement effort by CCSO in the past nine months. In September 2015, 18 people were arrested and $120,000 in heroin was seized in connection with a far-ranging drug trafficking conspiracy in South Florida following a yearlong investigation.

Sheriff Rambosk said Thursday’s operation represents the Sheriff’s Office’s ongoing commitment to fighting drugs and taking them off the streets of Collier County.

“Today’s arrests have interrupted at least 1,000 street-level narcotic transactions which would have netted these organizations approximately $575,000,” Sheriff Rambosk said.

Detectives say the cocaine trafficking conspiracy was not confined to any single jurisdiction. Arrests were made in Collier and Lee counties Thursday. During the course of the investigation cash and narcotics were seized at various locations.

A total of 14 warrants were obtained; 12 suspects have been arrested so far. The suspects are being held the Collier and Lee county jails on bonds ranging from $250,000 to $3.2 million.

“There are some people connected to the organization that we have yet to locate and the warrants for them will remain active until they are apprehended,” Sheriff Rambosk said.

During the investigation into these drug trafficking organizations, detectives seized or purchased over 2 kilograms of cocaine, 6 grams of heroin and quantities of Xanax and marijuana with a street value of $72,300. Approximately $180,000 in cash also was seized.

This investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected, the Sheriff said.

The 12 people arrested, their charges and bond amounts are:

Lanette Austile DOB: 10/21/1981 Charges: Conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to sell and possession of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver. Total Bond $100K.

Victor Cossio DOB: 10/19/1992 Charges: Trafficking in heroin – 4 grams or more, trafficking in cocaine – 400 grams or more, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 400 grams or more and possession of a controlled substance. Total Bond $2,510,000.

Noe DeJesus DOB: 9/6/1982 Charge: Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 28 grams or more. Total Bond $250K.

Fredrick Green DOB: 11/22/1978 Charges: Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 200 grams or more and conspiracy to possession with intent to sell a controlled substance. Total Bond $520K.

Fernando Guadarrama DOB: 7/15/1986 Charges: Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 400 grams or more and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 28 grams or more. Total Bond $1,250,000.

Michael Jackson III DOB: 2/4/1979 Charges: R.I.C.O, trafficking in cocaine – 28 grams or more, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine -400 grams or more, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 200 grams or more, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 28 grams or more, conspiracy to possession with intent to sell a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. Total Bond $2,790,000.

Erik Martinez DOB: 7/9/1990 Charges: R.I.C.O, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 400 grams or more, trafficking in cocaine – 400 grams or more and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 28 grams or more. Total Bond $3,250,000.

Florentino Martinez-Jimenez DOB: 11/10/1972 Charges: Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 400 grams or more and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 28 grams or more. Total Bond $1,250,000.

Cordey Taylor DOB: 10/14/1978 Charges: Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 28 grams or more and conspiracy to possession with intent to sell a controlled substance. Total Bond $270K.

Cristobel Torres DOB: 2/7/1993 Charge: Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine – 28 grams or more. Total Bond $250K.

William Washington DOB: 2/2/1969 Charges: Conspiracy t traffic in cocaine-28 grams or more and conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to sell.Total Bond $300K.

Lee Wren DOB: 10/19/1948 Charges: Conspiracy to possess cocaine with ittent to sell and possession of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver. Total Bond $100K.

The Immokalee Bulletin is published every Thursday.

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