Pinellas County, Florida -- Fourteen people are under arrest after a drug operation targeting heroin and cocaine by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and multiple other agencies. The ring linked Pinellas, Puerto Rico and Arizona.
"Operation White Pony" searched for people connected to the distribution of multiple kilos of cocaine and multiple ounces of heroin in Pinellas which was discovered through a three-month investigation.
Ten suspects were arrested in Pinellas, two in Hillsborough County, one in Arizona and one in Puerto Rico, the sheriff's office said.
The investigation began in late April and the suspects were arrested between July and August, and targeted the local kingpin, Pedro Maisonet, was connected to even bigger dealers in Puerto Rico and Mexico.
"He is trying to buy the best drugs he can from the the biggest dealers he can and selling to as many people as he can for as much money he can," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
Gaultieri said Maisonet was based in Pinellas Park and had a slew of dealers working for him, pushing coke and heroin on the streets and in businesses like Atlantis, Vertigo, Treasure Chest and Baby Dolls.
Atlantis co-owner George Foxhill says as much as then try to stop them, pushers always find a way in.
"For anyplace to say there aren't any is silly, but we do our best to keep an eye out for them," said Foxhill.
Investigators used wiretaps to find all the high-level players including Jorge Perez. His mother, Maribel Ortiz, lives in Tampa, and according to investigators, accepted mail shipments of drugs from her son, passed them on to Maisonet, and then ran her own ring.
"Literally thousands of phone calls were tapped that indicated a vast drug conspiracy in Pinellas and in Tampa Bay."
Gualtieri says they're still looking for two more members of the ring.
Through various investigative techniques, detectives were able to identify lower tier members of the organization, to include Ebenezer Jimenez, the sheriff's office said. Undercover operatives purchased both cocaine and heroin from Jimenez throughout the investigation, which in turn, lead them to identify Pedro Maisonet-Gonzalez as the leader of the organization in Pinellas County.
He was operating in partnership with his girlfriend, Isabel Jasso.
Detectives then learned that Pedro Maisonet-Gonzales would make monthly trips to Puerto Rico to purchase cocaine and ship it to Pinellas County through the U.S. Postal Service, according to the sheriff's office. Maisonet-Gonzales would also purchase handguns in Florida and ship them illegally to Puerto Rico to be sold to help fund his narcotics business. Detectives also discovered that Maisonet-Gonzales would distribute narcotics through Jimenez to various adult entertainment establishments within Pinellas County.
Further investigation, identified Jorge Lopez-Abril, Jorge Perez-Diaz and Mike Chavez- Zazueta as alternate suppliers of the heroin and cocaine.
At the conclusion of the investigation, search warrants were served at three locations that were being used by Maisonet-Gonazalez to conceal evidence of his drug trafficking organization and distribution network.
Fourteen handguns and $89,999 in cash were seized during the operation.
Here are the suspects and the charges they face:
-- Pedro Maisonet-Gonzalez, 40, of Pinellas Park, trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to traffic in heroin.
-- Isabel Jasso, 34, Pinellas Park, conspiracy to traffic in heroin.
-- Jorge Perez-Diaz, 36, of Puerto Rico, conspiracy to traffic in heroin.
-- Mike Chavez-Zazueta, 40, of Tucson, Ariz., conspiracy to traffic in heroin.
-- Maribel Diaz-Ortiz, 54, Tampa, conspiracy to traffic in heroin.
-- Carlos Collazo, 47, of Tampa, conspiracy to traffic in heroin.
-- Ebenezer Jimenez, 32, of Seminole, trafficking in heroin, trafficking in cocaine, sale and possession of heroin and sale. and possession of cocaine.
Jorge Lopez-Abril, 43, of Pinellas Park, conspiracy to traffic in heroin and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.
-- Richard Hammons, 32, of St. Petersburg, trafficking in cocaine and possession of marijuana.
-- Jamie Manz, 36, of Clearwater, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
-- Luis Salcedo, 36, of St. Petersburg, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and unlawful use of a two-way communication device
-- Anthony Ray Anderson, 54, of St. Petersburg, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, unlawful use of a two-way communication device, possession of marijuana (misdemeanor) and resisting arrest without violence.
-- Lissette Medina, 32, of Seminole, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
-- Miguel Ramos, 48, of Largo, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
The operation involved the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Investigative Operations Bureau-Narcotics Division, Drug Enforcement Administration Miami Field Division Tampa District Office, Central Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, and the State Attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit.