12 firearms seized in five Fort Myers incidents

Posted at 2:55 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 19:03:03-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Police in Fort Myers are taking action to get illegal guns off the streets, with investigators seizing a dozen weapons over the last three days.

The department says it's part of a continuing effort to rid the city of violent crime.

All twelve guns were recovered during three separate investigations within city limits. And five people are now facing various charges.

Here's a rundown of the arrests, according to Fort Myers Police:

Search Warrant (One firearm)
On Friday, March 17, 2017, the Fort Myers Police Departments Special Investigations Unit, along with uniformed officers assigned to Public Housing Unit, executed a search warrant in the 3000 block of Franklin Street.  The search warrant was a result of a two month investigation after neighborhood complaints regarding drug dealing occurring within the apartment.  During the search of the residence, officers recovered a loaded, .357 Taurus revolver in a small child’s bedroom.  The child was not home at the time of the warrant.  Officers seized approximately 300 grams of marijuana, 16 grams of Ecstasy.  24-year-old Imari Ranisha Colon of Fort Myers and 24-year-old Jessie Powell were arrested as a result of the warrant.  The case remains active and more charges are pending.

Traffic Stop (Two firearms)
On Friday, March 17, 2017, officers with the Fort Myers Police Departments Gang Suppression Unit conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in the area of Carroll Road and Fowler Street, Fort Myers, Florida.  Officers conducted a lawful search of the vehicle and located a loaded Taurus PT 111 9mm semi-automatic handgun as well as a loaded Smith & Wesson M+P .40 caliber semi-automatic.  A firearms inquiry revealed that the Smith & Wesson .40 caliber was reported stolen.  The front seat passenger in the vehicle, 23-year-old Demon Jamaol Speed of Fort Myers was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and carrying a concealed weapon.  The Taurus 9mm was found in the glove box along with Speed’s identification.

Vegas Lounge (Three firearms and one riffle)
Just after midnight on Sunday, March 19, 2017, officers with the Fort Myers Police Department’s Bravo Shift were conducting foot patrols in the area of the Vegas Lounge on Colonial Boulevard.  The Vegas Lounge has been an area known for illegal arms violations and tonight was no exception.  "We've met with them before. We don't like to come out and just do open enforcement. We like to educate. We like to work with businesses. We want businesses succeed. But there comes a time when enforcement is the only way we're going to do it," said Lt. Jay Rodriguez. "We had a gentleman that came out of the club brandishing a firearm. They can't tolerate that. We're not going to tolerate it. It's clear that this location has our attention."

During two different encounters, officers seized three separate firearms. 

In one incident, 30-year-old Fletcher Deon Jackson of Lehigh Acres was seen exiting the Vegas Lounge with a loaded North American Arms .22 magnum in his pocket.  Officer could clearly see the handle of the firearm outside of Jackson’s pocket as he walked towards his vehicle.  Although Jackson does possess a valid State of Florida concealed weapons permit, the manner in which Jackson possessed the firearm (Openly exhibited) was a violation of the law.  Furthermore, under Florida State Statue 790.06(12), it is illegal for any person in possession of a concealed weapons permit to carry their weapon inside any establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose.  During a search of Jackson’s vehicle, officer located a loaded FHN Five Seven semi-automatic pistol as well as a loaded Bush Master .223 caliber (AR-15) semi-automatic rifle.  Officers also located several Valium and Oxycodone pills inside the vehicle.  Jackson did not have a prescription for either.  Jackson was placed under arrest for violation of the FSS 790.06(12), improper exhibit of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

At the same time as the incident described above, another group of officers made contact with 20-year-old Ashton Devan McPhee of Fort Myers inside a vehicle in the Vegas Lounge parking lot.  McPhee was also observed leaving the nightclub.  Officer located a loaded Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver inside McPhee’s vehicle.  McPhee was charged with carrying a concealed firearm.

Aggravated Assault (Five firearms)
At approximately 12:32 a.m., the Fort Myers Police Department responded to the Horizon Apartments on Summerlin Road in Fort Myers, in reference to a call of gunshots in the area.  Upon arrival, officers met with a female who stated that her ex-boyfriend and father of her children, 36-year-old Latroy Deshawn Pender, fired a single gunshot at her during an altercation. A Fort Myers Police officer was in the complex at the time and confirmed hearing a single gunshot.  Officer’s surrounded the apartment and ordered Pender to exit.  Pender refused to open the door at first but eventually surrendered to the officers.   A search warrant for the apartment was obtained and executed by investigators.  During the search, investigators located the following items:
·         .22 caliber Ruger revolver
·         Phoenix Arms .22 caliber long rifle pistol
·         .38 Special revolver
·         Derringer .38 Special revolver
·         Smith & Wesson .357 revolver
·         One hundred and fifty nine rounds of ammunition
·         13 grams of heroin
·         $3,000.00 cash
·         Digital scale and drug paraphernalia
Pender is a convicted felon is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.  Pender was charged with aggravated assault, six counts of possession of a firearm/ammunition by a convicted felon, trafficking in heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.