Largest Methamphetamine distribution takedown in Okeechobee History announced

MIAMI – Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, A.D. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Office, Paul C. May, Sheriff, Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, John J. Burke, Special Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Fort Myers Regional Operation Center-Sebring Field Office, and Susan Benton, Sheriff, Highlands County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) announced Friday, Aug. 28,  the filing of federal charges against 15 defendants for their alleged participation in a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, specifically methamphetamines, in and around Okeechobee and Highlands Counties.  US states attorney

The defendants have been charged in a single indictment in the matter of United States v. Steven Lee Oakes, et. al., 2015-CR-14046-Martinez.  In addition to the federal indictment, 29 individuals have been charged by the Office of the State Attorney, 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida for their alleged participation in a related conspiracy to commit narcotics involved racketeering offenses.  This coordinated takedown to combat the drug epidemic is one of the largest in the history of Okeechobee and Highlands Counties.

United States Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “The continued collaboration between federal and local law enforcement agencies to attack drug trafficking activity is of paramount importance.  Methamphetamines continue to poison our communities at alarming rates.  Today’s indictment demonstrates that we are dedicated to protecting the public’s safety and improving the quality of life for law-abiding residents of South Florida by adopting proactive law enforcement initiatives.  We will continue to work with our State partners to prosecute individuals whose criminal conduct infects our communities.”

“Cooperative law enforcement is the enemy of these drug rings,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge A.D. Wright.  “These indictments and arrests demonstrate the commitment DEA has to combating organized networks that traffic drugs in our neighborhoods.  We would like to commend the federal and local law enforcement officers who worked side by side with the DEA.  We believe that citizens should be protected from rampant drug dealing and other criminal activity in their communities.”

“This operation illustrates the value of bringing the assets of Federal, State, County and Municipal agencies together in a coordinated investigative effort for maximum impact on an insidious and destructive threat to public safety. FDLE is pledged to support any effort to attack methamphetamine and the host of other illicit drugs that threaten the safety of our residents and visitors,” said FDLE Special Agent in Charge John J. Burke.

Sheriff Susan Benton, HCSO, stated, “As we see the direct link between property crimes and the use of methamphetamines; this significant, large scale investigation will certainly impact local crime and our citizens will be safer as a result. Thank you to our partners at the state and federal level for the help they provide to local residents.”

The federal indictment charges 15 defendants in the Southern District of Florida for their alleged participation in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy.  Charged in the ten count indictment are Steven Lee Oakes, a/k/a “Wildman,” 59, of Davenport, Jetta Lyn Frake, 45, of Lorida, Lacy Junior Locklear, 47, of Davenport, Stephen Patrick Hall, Jr., 35, of Dundee, Daniel John Alsdorf, 58, of Okeechobee, James Ledger Carter, a/k/a “Buddy,” 61, of Lake Port, Teresa Lee Green, 45, of Okeechobee, Tanner Lyn Carter, 22, of Lake Port, Felisha Michelle Leitner, 28, of Okeechobee, David Allen Sparks, 49, of Okeechobee, Jamie Lea Hewitt, 35, of Okeechobee, Jessica Marie Bell, 28, of Okeechobee, Vickie Lynn Johnson, 47, of Okeechobee, Travis Wayne Carr, 23, of Okeechobee, and Timothy Dale Reid, 49, of Okeechobee.

The indictment alleges that all 15 defendants conspired to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine from as early as July 2014 and continuing to and including August 6, 2015, in Okeechobee and Highlands Counties, in the Southern District of Florida, and other locations, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 846.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, a number of defendants were also indicted for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in various amounts up to 50 grams or more, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).

  • Steven Lee Oakes was charged with possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine on October 8, 14, and 28 of 2014, December 5, 2014 and April 26, 2015.  Oakes was also charged with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine on December 17, 2014.
  • Lacy Junior Locklear was charged with possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine on April 26, 2015.
  • Daniel John Alsdorf was charged with possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine on April 28, 2015.
  • Teresa Lee Green was charged with possession with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing a detectible amount of methamphetamine on March 10, 2015.
  • Vickie Lyn Johnson was charged with possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine on March 31, 2015.

During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized a significant amount of methamphetamine.

This case was the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  The OCDETF mission is to identify, investigate, and prosecute high level members of drug trafficking enterprises, bringing together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement.

The federal indictment is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney L. Coker and Special Assistant United States Attorney Ryan L. Butler.   The state matters are being prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Ashley Albright.

If convicted in federal court, the defendants face the following possible statutory sentences: a mandatory minimum of ten years and up to life in prison for the conspiracy to distribute and/or possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; a mandatory minimum of five years and up to forty years in prison for possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine; and up to twenty years in prison for possession with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing a detectible amount of methamphetamine.

Mr. Ferrer commended the collaborative efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and the Okeechobee County Office of the State Attorney.   Mr. Ferrer thanked the OCDETF law enforcement agencies that assisted with this multi-faceted investigation, including the DEA, Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force, FDLE’s Fort Myers Regional Operations Center Sebring Field Office, HCSO, the Okeechobee Police Department, Glades County Sheriff’s Office, Saint Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Pierce Police Department, the Fort Pierce Offices of the United States Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HIS), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Port Saint Lucie Police Department, Martin County Sheriff’s Office, United States Border Patrol, and Indian River County Sheriff’s Office

An indictment and state charging instruments are only accusations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

For more details and updates on this story, see the Sunday, Aug. 30,  edition of the Okeechobee News.

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