Five suspects have been arrested and hundreds of thousands of dollars in drugs and cash have been seized after a multi-agency operation lead by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office busted a meth-trafficking ring on Thursday.
According to Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk, his office ended a year-long investigation dubbed Operation Ice Breaker on Thursday that targeted a crystal meth trafficking ring that operated in Southwest Florida and California. The task force also include the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security, and the DEA, among other agencies.
“We believe that with this arrest we are making Southwest Florida a much safer community, because we know on a national level we are seeing an increase of methamphetamine production and use, and co-use with opiods and our opioid problem,” said Rambosk.
During the operation, reports say that Collier detectives seized six pounds of crystal meth with a street value of $96,000, the largest quantity ever seized by the CCSO. The Sarasota Sheriff’s Office, who also assisted in the operation, seized 8.49 pounds of methamphetamine, 454.6 grams of marijuana, 67 prescription pills, and $163,000 cash. In total, Rambosk said that the ring trafficked about 22.5 pounds of crystal methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $360,000.
“Recently the production has increased dramatically and differently,” Rambosk said. “It’s more highly refined today, it’s massed-produced, and it’s not necessarily done in backyard clandestine labs as we used to see years ago.”
Five suspects were arrested and charged during the operation including:
Michael Adrian Stonebreaker, 48, of Naples, charged with two counts of conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine and two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine
Biron Land Bacher, 48, of Cape Coral, charged with conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine and trafficking in methamphetamine
Jason Nicholas Garff, 49, of Naples, charged with possession of methamphetamine
Brian Tharp, 43, of Venice, charged with trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription
Additional warrants are still active for members of the trafficking ring which have not yet been apprehended.
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