Nine arrested, six more wanted in North Fort Myers drug bust Thursday

Posted at 5:24 PM, Aug 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-01 09:47:57-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Several homes in a North Fort Myers neighborhood were raided Thursday morning as part of a major drug operation there.

Nine people were caught and Lee County Sheriff's deputies say several more are on the run.

The investigation centers on homes along Cypress Street off Business 41 just south of Pondella Road.  That’s where neighbors say drug activity has been an ongoing issue for years.

Just last month, detectives say they received over 150 calls about the issue.

"Today we conducted a tactical, coordinated strike on those residences," said Carmine Marceno, Lee County Undersheriff.

It was called Operation Cabana Crush; an undercover mission that led detectives to 9 drug dealers who live on the street, turning the homes into what detectives call "trap houses".

"These people are simply criminals spreading poison on our streets," said Marceno.

"Yeah, there's definitely a drug problem here, but that's everywhere," said one resident whose home was one of the homes raided.

She says she moved in a month ago, and she's upset because she claims the warrant wasn't in her name.

Fox 4 asked her that knowing there is a drug problem in the area, did she think this raid was needed?

"I feel like if it was raided and they had found something, maybe. But they found nothing in no one's house, so why did we have to suffer with no power," said Kaitlyn Gillespie.

A man living next door says he has no idea who the wanted people are. "I get caught up in this and they shut my power off.  I don't know why.  I paid my rent.  They kicked in the door looking for somebody else, I mean he doesn't live here.”

His girlfriend was arrested after detectives found a small marijuana joint in their home.

Another woman who is also without power says the raid came at a necessary time.  “They started to use kids; they were starting to use people that were on drugs that having kids and they were starting to grab the kids, and it was needed because you can't hurt a kid."

Investigators think they've identified fifteen people in Operation Cabana Crush.  Six of them are still out there, and detectives hope the community help to track them down.

If you have any information that could help track them down, contact Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers.  And keep in mind, you can remain anonymous.

PHOTO GALLERY: 9 arrested, 6 wanted in drug sting

Those arrested during the investigating include :

  • Billie Arlington, 29, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Heather Butcher, 26 - Sale/Possession of Heroin.
  • Bryan Bishop, 21 - Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Richard Blevins, 41 - Sale/ Possession of Heroin while on probation.
  • James Estrella, 48 - Sale/Possession of Heroin and Cocaine.
  • Tregory Tyler, 44 - Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Bradley Stidham,  26 - Sale/Possession of a Controlled Substance and Cocaine.
  • Forrest Webb, 20 - Obstruction.
  • Tyrome Wright, 43 - Sale/ Possession of Heroin and Cocaine.

Those wanted in connection to the operation include:

  • David Davis, 41 - Sale/Possession of Heroin.
  • Danielle Hallmon, 30 - Sale/Possession of Heroin and Cocaine.
  • Robert Lee, 33 - Loitering and Prowling.
  • Amanda May, 28 - Possession of a Controlled Substance and of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Sondra Patty, 44 - Loitering and Prowling.
  • Gary Sawyer, 31 - Sale/Possession of Cocaine.