“Historic” Sarasota Bust confiscates $500,000 in cocaine

The Sarasota Police Department recently unveiled the result of one of the largest drug arrests made in the area to date. In an investigation aided by the Bradenton Police Department, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), police seized 12 kilos of powdered cocaine – an estimated $500,000 worth of drugs.

In the Feb. 4 press conference, the investigation leading to the arrests – “Operation Sarasota Cartel II” – was revealed to have taken place over an 18-month time period and is said to still be in progress. Requiring more than five search warrants, the region-wide cocaine bust yielded around 10 arrests, the seizure of five automobiles and $150,000 in cash implicated in the alleged drug ring.

“To be able to get over 12 kilos of cocaine is a significant amount of cocaine,” Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette Dipino said. “And to be able to seize money and cars and also weapons – that is historic.”

Drug Enforcement Agency official, James DiCaprio, commented that the drug bust was only possible because they were able to “drop the net” and get the source and traffickers of the cocaine from Miami.

Anticipating further arrests, Dipino ended the press conference with a warning to those “of the criminal element” in Sarasota: “Find another place to do your drugs because it’s not going to be in the city of Sarasota.”

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