Countywide drug investigation targets 23 alleged drug dealers

Operation Lookout II, part two of a countywide drug investigation, targeted 23 alleged drug dealers this morning. Thirty-five arrest warrants were issued for the dealers in Flagler County. Operation Lookout II is a follow-up to Operation Lookout I which resulted in 40 arrests last November. Operation Lookout II began in March 2007. Both operations involved the Flagler County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Enforcement Team, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, (the Tri-County Narcotics Task Force) and the City of Bunnell Police Department.

Flagler County Sheriff Donald W. Fleming said the latest warrant sweep was a continuation of the November 2006 drug arrests that concentrated on Bunnell. "In the second phase of the operation, we found drug sales were spread throughout the county, not just in Bunnell," said Sheriff Fleming. "These warrants were for faces new to the drug trafficking scene. The number of drug charges in the two sweeps exceeded more than 80 with 63 arrests. Several of those arrested face multiple charges."

He explained that the multi-jurisdictional operation was the result of citizen input and hard work between the law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation. "The majority of leads generated in this operation came from citizen tips. This operation identified suspects and today as the result of the hard work of these investigators - the dealers have been identified and arrested," said Sheriff Fleming.

FDLE Special Agent in Charge Dominick Pape echoed Sheriff Fleming's words. "The results of Operation Lookout I and II are outstanding. A large number of alleged drug dealers have been removed from several communities. Especially rewarding is the involvement of citizens in these operations. Citizens provided information that fueled law enforcement's intelligence in identifying and locating suspects. It is apparent that the good folks of Florida want criminals removed from their towns and are willing to work with law enforcement to remove Florida's criminal element."

FDLE Resident Agent in Charge Noel Griffin of the St. Augustine Field Office directs the FDLE members of the Tri-County Narcotics Task Force. The multi-agency Narcotics Task Force was formed in June 2000 to combat drug law violations, related criminal violations and the individuals associated with the supplying and distribution of narcotics. "During these past seven years the participants of the task force have been highly successful in disrupting individuals and organizations involved with narcotics," he said. "Operation Outlook is one example of their continuing successes."

Most of the suspects named in the warrants live in Flagler County or surrounding counties and were known to frequent Palm Coast homes. As a result of this warrant sweep, more than $20,000 in stolen property was recovered and several home burglaries were solved. In one instance, a local drug dealer was distributing drugs in exchange for furniture. In July 2007, investigators raided a Palm Coast home, recovering more than $20,000 worth of stolen goods that the resident, Calloway McCaster, 35, took in exchange for crack cocaine. The furniture had been stolen July 2 from an unoccupied home on Foster Lane. McCaster was arrested July 24 and charged with sale of cocaine and dealing in stolen property.

Sheriff Fleming said the increase in burglaries is due in part to growth and in part to drug trafficking. "This specific operation demonstrates the correlation between drug use and crime. In this instance, a home was burglarized to support a drug addiction," said Sheriff Fleming. "I would like to thank all the law enforcement agencies involved in both of these operations. The community as a whole has benefited from their work."

For more information, contact:
Debra Johnson
(386) 586-4814

Sharon Gogerty
Public Information Officer
FDLE - Jacksonville
(904) 360-7100