Drug Crime Bust in Fort Myers
"Good People Do Get Arrested!"
A six-month-long undercover operation in the Pine Manor neighborhood led to 20 arrests this morning, 18 of them on drug crimes.
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott announced the arrests during a press conference. It was one of the largest undercover operations conducted by the agency.
Dubbed "Operation Mind Your Manor," it rounded up many career criminals, Scott said. There were 33 targets and 18 of them were arrested. Two more were picked up on unrelated offenses.
"We don't have all of our targets in custody, but we will, I can assure you that. We've got people on the streets right now hunting these folks down basically like the animals they are," Scott said.
One home, where 25-year-old Christopher Jones was arrested for the sale and possession of heroin, had an infant inside. Scott called it one of the more poignant moments of his career, watching a fully-suited SWAT member carry the infant carrier out with the baby inside.
"Just feet from the playpen was heroin, methamphetamine pills, crack-cocaine," Scott said. "If someone would be this careless with the life and limb of their own child, what regard do they have for human life in the community?"
Scott said the teams were aware of which homes had innocent bystanders, such as children, as well as dogs and camera systems.
Jones' residence was one of them, but his system "didn't work so well when our guys came knocking," Scott said.
The logistics of the operation also included knowing when school buses were running and where they made their stops, and whether it was garbage pick-up day. "Well, today it was garbage pick-up day in a different way," he quipped.
Pine Manor is a neighborhood of about 3,800 people, bordered to the east by Cleveland Avenue and the west by Summerlin Road. Scott said there are a lot of good people in the neighborhood, and he wanted to assure them - and the "not-so-good people" - that the sheriff's office will continue their efforts to clean up the area.
"Word is out that the sheriff's office showed up, and if they're going to be foolish enough to hang out and do this type of thing our community, we'll certainly be there to reward them for their misdeeds," he said.