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Sunday, July 31, 2022

Four-month probe ends with largest fentanyl bust in Lake County history

Undercover narcotics detectives from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office recently wrapped up a four-month investigation with a huge bust that netted the largest amount of fentanyl (over 3 pounds) ever confiscated in the history of the county.

Multiple local and federal law-enforcement agencies assisted with the investigation, dubbed “Operation Sneak-A-Peek.” The probe began in February when detectives developed information on the three main targets, who were arrested June 22.

Cliff Desmond Johnson Charles Allen Carter and Andrew Woodruff copy
Cliff “Sneak” Johnson (left), Charles “Cuz” Carter (center) and Andrew “Smurph” Woodruff were arrested June 22 in connection with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office’s “Operation Sneak-A-Peak.”
  • Cliff Desmond “Sneak” Johnson, 40, of 906 Chelsea Ave. in Fruitland Park, was charged with 21 felonies and two misdemeanors relating to the possession and trafficking of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, Adderall, Alprazolam, and Oxycodone, along with racketeering, possession of a firearm by a felon, resisting without violence, and use of a two-way communications device to facilitate a felony. He’s being held in the Lake County Jail on $25,000 bond.
  • Charles Allen “Cuz” Carter, 50, of 2449 Bracknell Forest Trail in Tavares, is being held without bond after being charged with trafficking large quantities of cocaine and fentanyl, racketeering, unlawful use of a two-way communication device and a handful of probation violations.
  • Andrew “Smurph” Woodruff, 37, of 5616 Galloping Drive in Apopka, was charged with trafficking large quantities of fentanyl and methamphetamine, racketeering, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. He’s also being held without bond.

fentanly 1 fentanyl 2 fentanyl 3fentanyl 4fentanyl 5The investigation at times required detectives to travel throughout the state of Florida, and as far away as Georgia. Detectives learned that a lot of these drugs were originating in Mexico, crossing the borders into Texas and California, and were then either transported to Florida, or shipped to our area via various parcel services.

The investigation resulted in drug-related charges for 27 people, including the three primary targets. Detectives seized four vehicles, 13 firearms (three of which were stolen), $12,000 cash, over 3 pounds of fentanyl (street value of $116,000), 22 pounds of methamphetamine (street value $110,000), 15 pounds of marijuana (street value $21,000), 2 pounds of cocaine (street value $40,000), and over 5 ounces of heroin (street value of $12,000), as well as smaller amounts of other drugs. Detectives also confiscated three presses that enabled the suspects to more efficiently process and package the trafficking amounts of the drugs.

other arresteesDetectives credited the success of the operation to the hard work, dedication, and inter-agency cooperation between the partners of the County-City Investigative Bureau, which includes the Clermont, Leesburg, Eustis, and Mount Dora police departments, as well as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the State Attorney for the 5th Judicial Circuit.

Johnson, Carter, and Woodruff are scheduled to appear in Lake County Court on July 18.

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