SEBRING — Operation Collateral Damage proved to be a highly successful sting by the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday. Three Special Operations teams nabbed and arrested 17 people associated with dealing drugs in a sweep across the county this week.
“On Thursday, we did a round up of drug dealers,” a HCSO official said. “We put a big dent in the flow of illegal narcotics in our county.”
Three people on the list were already in jail for previous charges, including Rodrick Lovett, who was in a jail in Sumter County. He will be extradited back to Highlands County.
Another person, Savannah Lynn Pope, 20, was caught up in the sting and was arrested for being an out-of-state fugitive of Kentucky for trafficking in controlled substance, and buying or possessing drug paraphernalia. She will be extradited back to Kentucky, per HCSO.
HCSO officials said those arrested were put on a list and the warrants were sent out with the three teams. Jose Jimenez was arrested because he was in possession of drugs, not because he was a drug dealer.
The name of the sting was Operation Collateral Damage.
“These people were identified during investigations of other drug trafficking organizations,” a spokesman for HCSO said. “They are not the really high-level dealers. They have been arrested on selling illegal narcotics, cocaine, synthetic cannabinoids, pills and methamphetamine. Some of these investigations go back many months.”
Many people arrested were also charged in selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a church or school and using a two-way device to facilitate a felony.
The following people were arrested during Operation Collateral Damage. They are listed along with the type of narcotics they had on them or were selling.
Prescott Carl Gray, 24, of Sebring, charges involve methamphetamine.
Jose Alberto Jimenez, 35, of Sebring, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine.
Stephen Martin Mackay, 48, of Sebring, was arrested for methamphetamine.
Angelo Luis Maldonado, 56, of Avon Park, was arrested for possession of cocaine and marijuana.
Alpheus Claude McPherson, 58, of Avon Park, was arrested for selling cocaine.
Savannah Lynn Pope, 20, of Sebring, was arrested for an out-of-state warrant from Kentucky regarding methamphetamine.
Joshua Crea Reed, 29, of Sebring, for charges involving synthetic narcotics and methamphetamine.
Diane Marie Smith, 42, of Sebring, is facing charges involving methamphetamine.
George Louis Soto, 52, of Avon Park, has charges regarding cocaine.
Dunnovan Michael Stanton, 21, of Lake Placid, faces charges for tetrahydocannabinol (THC).
Marcus Lamon Tayloe, 29, of Lake Placid, was arrested on charges connected to methamphetamine and a synthetic cannabinoid.
Semaj Reshawn Turner, 26, of Lake Placid, was arrested on charges stemming from oxycodone and opium derivatives.
Daniel James Welkes, 29, of Lake Placid, was arrested in connection to synthetic cannabinoids and methamphetamine.
Rodick Lovett, Sumter County jail, has been charged with possession of methamphetamine. He will be extradited back to Highlands County.
Stefanie Marie Ray, 29, in Highlands County Jail, will also be charged with selling methamphetamine.
Michele Johnson, 35, in Highlands County Jail, is facing methamphetamine-related charges.
Tanner Lee Edwards, 25, in Highlands County Jail, is facing methamphetamine charges.
Mugshots were not provided for three of the arrested persons.