Operation Gateway Busts “Bottoms” Area
AUG 30 – (LAKE COUNTY, Fla.) – Eighteen street level poly-drug distributors have been indicted on state and federal drug charges. Yesterday’s operation was announced by Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, Virginia O’Brien, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Tampa Field Division, and Gary Borders, Sheriff, Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Yesterday’s arrests include the following 12 State Defendants:
Three state defendants, Hiram Malone (51, Lake County), Quincy Perry (35, Lake County), and Tarvert Lee Bryant aka “Vert” (36, Umatilla) still remain at large.
Three federal defendants, Marcus Durias (25, Lake County), John Woodberry (26, Orange County), and Alex Henderson (23, Orange County) were also arrested and charged with: Possession of a firearm and ammunition, distribution of a controlled substance and using a firearm in furtherance of a drug transaction.
Yesterday’s operation also resulted in the seizure of eleven vehicles, nine of which were from a car lot owned by Russell Bowling and two other members of this organization.
This investigation was initiated in February 2012, in the Lake County area referred to as the “bottoms.” The “bottoms” is a well-known area for criminal activities where poly-drug dealers are known to hang out and distribute narcotics, stash stolen vehicles and sell weapons. This area of Lake County is in the City of Umatilla, which is the gateway to the Ocala National Forrest.
Over the course of this undercover investigation, trafficking amounts of oxycodone prescription pills, crack cocaine, ecstasy pills, marijuana and firearms have been purchased from these individuals. In addition, 11 weapons were purchased during the course of this investigation.
This is an ongoing joint investigation being conducted by DEA Orlando District Office, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Group, ATF Orlando Field Office, and Lake County Sheriff’s Office, dubbed “Operation Gateway.” This investigation is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Florida and the Lake County State Attorney’s Office.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville commended the investigative efforts of the DEA HIDTA Group, ATF and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the many other state and local agencies involved in these operations.
An indictment is merely a formal charge, and every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.