Undercover operation nets nearly 100 arrests in Sarasota for illegal gun sales

Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — An undercover operation by the Sarasota Police Department and ATF resulted in the arrests of nearly 100 individuals for the illegal sale of guns and narcotics.

Police Chief Bernadette DiPino and members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), United States Attorney’s Office, and the Florida State Attorney’s Office held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to announce the “extremely successful” results of the operation.

The operation was conducted by undercover officers buying firearms and narcotics from suspected dealers in areas that proved to be highest in drug and gun crimes.

The police department said 97 suspects have been arrested and 11 are still wanted.

Those still wanted are listed below:

  • J Oliver Fort, 08/28/1973
  • Robert Hicks 08/19/1963
  • Bobby Hudson 04/15/1986
  • Reshond Keno 07/12/1991
  • Tammy Lilley 02/27/1990
  • Renardo McCray 01/27/1981
  • Susan Rice 06/28/1962
  • Barbara Schnurr 03/03/1978
  • Natron Sellers 12/04/1997
  • Jaron Sheppard 12/10/1991
  • DeMario Thomas 08/08/1992

The police department said every suspect identified in the operation has 10 or more previous felony convictions. The entire group has a combined 2,561 prior charges.

The image below is half of the firearms seized in the investigation.

Guns seized in Operation SURGE

A total of 82 guns were seized during the operation. Of the 82, there were 72 handguns, seven rifles, and three shotguns.


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