‘Operation Bell Gang Blues’: 32 suspects charged in undercover drug trafficking investigation in Polk County

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A 16-month undercover investigation has lead to the arrest of nearly 30 people in Polk County in relation to the trafficking, sale, and possession of illegal drugs.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the investigation was conducted by the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force in the Lake Wales area.

In total, 32 suspects were charged, 29 of which were arrested and three others who remain out on warrant.

“You can go ahead and turn yourself in or you’re just going to go to jail tired from running,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.

The suspects face a total of 301 felonies and 134 misdemeanors, the sheriff’s office says. Their combined criminal histories include 314 total felonies and 331 total misdemeanors.

“It amazes me that some people still think drug traffickers are somehow low-level, non-violent criminals. In this instance, eleven guns were in the hands of these felons – two of which were stolen,” said Judd. “Illegal drugs ruin lives, destroy families, drive up property crime, and wreck neighborhoods. Our community is safer because of the outstanding work by our detectives.”

The sheriff gave a warning to those both in and out of jail a part of this operation, saying the network of drug dealers and sellers will be found and stopped.

“We’ve got your gold. We’ve put your tail in the county jail. Think about that brothers… you may think it’s cool but it will end up with you arrested every time,” he said.

Deputies say the total amount of drugs and guns seized are as follows (totaling $283,820):

  • 11 firearms seized (2 were reported as stolen)
  • Approximately 22.4 pounds of marijuana seized (street value: approximately $100,000)
  • Approximately 4.3 pounds of methamphetamine seized (street value: approximately $97,950)
  • Approximately 1.7 pounds of cocaine seized (street value: approximately $81,000)
  • Approximately 36.3 grams of Ecstasy (street value: approximately $3,630)
  • Approximately 32 bags of THC candy (street value: approximately $640)
  • Approximately 2.5 grams of heroin (street value: approximately $500)
  • Approximately 5 grams of oxycodone seized (street value: approximately $100)

Judd mentioned $88,000 in cash and $89,000 in jewelry was also found.

Below are the suspects still at large:

  • Angela Dunklebarger, 49, of Lake Wales
  • Tavoris Jones, 37, of Lake Wales
  • Reginald Phillips, 37, of Dundee

Below is a full list of the suspects in custody:

  • Jerald Anderson, 35, of Lake Wales
  • George Ashe, 43, of Bartow
  • William Byrd, 29, of Lakeland
  • Fenel Celestin, 33, of Lake Wales
  • Ashauntea Dias, 20, of Lake Wales 
  • Kelvin Eads, 47, of Frostproof 
  • Patrick Fields, 34, of Lake Wales 
  • Silvia Gonzalez, 41, of Lake Wales 
  • Johnny Hamilton, 55, of Lake Wales 
  • Terrance Hamilton, 48, of Lake Wales 
  • Shantavis Handford, 19, of Winter Haven 
  • Clifford Hart, 35, of Winter Haven 
  • Julie Howell, 34, of Lakeland 
  • Jackquez Irving, 28, of Lake Wales 
  • Kerry Johnson, 42, of Orlando 
  • Adrienne Kinsler, 31, of Plant City 
  • Jose Lopez-Ortiz, 26, of Lake Wales 
  • James McClain, 34, of Lake Wales 
  • Maurice Owens, 41, of Lake Wales
  • Tremaine Parker, 29, of Lake Wales 
  • Letisha Kaye Pride, 46, of Lake Wales
  • Uquasha Pride, 19, of Lake Wales 
  • Ta’Quasia Primus, 22, of Winter Haven 
  • Dennis Richmond, 59, of Lake Wales 
  • Ni’aisia Ross, 20, of Winter Haven 
  • Heidi Sutton, 39, of Frostproof 
  • Earl Thomas, 67, of Lake Wales 
  • Vincent Thomas, 35, of Lake Wales
  • Mitchell Ware, 68, of Coral Springs 

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