Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno executed a major fentanyl operation with an internet streaming show in tow.
The Republican law enforcement leader wore body vests and stood before a SWAT team in full gear in front of a local drug den. The entire scene as Marceno delivered a warrant was captured by media cameras, which in late January filmed the Sheriff planting a sign with his face emblazoned on it reading “This Drug House Closed.”
“We come in strong, and we mean business,” Marceno said. “So, we’re going to take everything we can from drug dealers: cars, houses, money, everything we seize.”
The event unfolded with On Patrol: Live, a Reelz streaming show, riding along with Marceno for the week.
The arrest ultimately resulted in 80 arrests and the seizure of two kilos of cocaine. The Sheriff’s Department created graphics in its videos dubbing the investigation Operation Zero Chill. In a south Fort Myers studio, Marceno held another news conference with mug shots lined up behind him. Transparent bags of seized drugs and piled of cash sat on tables as Marceno discussed the arrest.
Another high-profile incident occurred last week that couldn’t be scheduled but earned plenty of media attention for the Sheriff’s Office.
A hostage situation ended when a Sheriff’s Office sniper shot and killed a man who had taken two people hostage as part of an armed robbery at a Bank of America. Sterling Alavache, 36, was shot and killed on Feb. 6.
The Sheriff’s Office released bodycam footage showing a hostage negotiator speaking to Alavache when the sniper shot can be heard. However, it has not released imagery of the shooting itself.
“This footage depicts only a small portion of hostage negotiation efforts that took place on-scene between deputies and the suspect. It is important to note what is not readily viewable, is the suspect placing the hostages in imminent danger by threatening them with a knife, while placing them in a chokehold,” a caption with the video reads on Facebook.
“In an effort to preserve the lives of the hostages and general public, the decision was made to neutralize the threat. Our Special Operations Unit and Hostage Negotiations Team train regularly together so that all options are available when situations like this arise.”