'Historic' drug cartel bust collapses Sarasota-Manatee connection

rdymond@bradenton.comFebruary 4, 2014 

MANATEE — In an operation called “historic” for the amount of drugs, money and cars involved, 10 suspected drug dealers in the Bradenton and Sarasota area have been arrested and powdered cocaine with a street value of more than $500,000 seized.

“Operation Sarasota Cartel II,” conducted primarily by the Sarasota Police Department with help from the Bradenton Police Department and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, lasted 18 months and was made public Tuesday in Sarasota.

During the operation, 12 kilos of powder cocaine were recovered valued at more than $500,000 and five automobiles were taken under Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, according to a news release.

Eight search warrants were executed and $115,000 in U.S. currency was seized, the release states.

The 10 people arrested may serve from three years to 15 years in prison, the release adds.

“I would say this is an eye-opener for everyone in the criminal element,” said Lt. James Racky of the Bradenton Police Department. “This shows them the police can get them anywhere and take a large amount of their possessions.”

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