Local police, in coordination with the U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement agencies, recently announced that they arrested 120 people in the greater Fort Myers area and other communities in Lee County over the course of two months. Charges are still pending against most of those who have been arrested.
The charges covered a gamut of alleged wrongdoing. Many of those arrested now face accusations of drug crimes and weapons charges. Those who conducted this investigation believe that many of those arrested also have ties to gang activity.
Police also said that they seized 45 illegal weapons. Police also found drugs that they estimated to be worth over $100,000. The drugs included marijuana, which is still illegal in Florida except for medical reasons, as well as harder drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin. Law enforcement officers also collected $18,000 in cash, presumably because they suspected it was connected to the sale of contraband.
Those caught up in this investigation are likely facing serious charges. Crimes related to drugs and gang activity are usually felonies and can carry lengthy prison sentences as well as other severe penalties.
It bears repeating, however, that even those who are arrested as part of a high-profile and coordinated investigation must still be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendants have many rights in this respect, including the right to tell their side of the story and to demand that the police show how every stage of their investigation was lawful. It is often important for an attorney to assist a defendant protect these rights.