LEE CO., Fla. — Lee County commissioners have approved Sheriff Carmine Marceno's plan to nearly double the number of deputies in his narcotics unit.
Marceno spoke at Tuesday's Lee County Board of Commissioners meeting to make his case for spending the money.
It’s going to cost about $1.7 million a year, and the sheriff says he's committed to fighting the opioid crisis.
Video from December shows his department made 43 arrests after a 4-month investigation. During this investigation, the sheriff says deputies found 10 pounds of drugs— including fentanyl.
Instances, like this one, that the sheriff says money is needed to fight drug and gang-related crime.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, overdose deaths increased 61% from 2019 - 2021.
The plan is for the unit to increase from 24 to 44 employees. That will include hiring undercover detectives, sergeants, and gang unit detectives. Money will also be used for equipment and vehicles.
The State Attorney’s Office is also asking to hire 5 more employees to handle the increase in cases deputies will bring in.
It’s estimated that will cost a little more than $460,000 a year.
Marceno's request was approved by commissioners with a unanimous vote.