Sarasota Police Department narcotics unit detectives arrested two men charged with running a large-scale marijuana operation from their Park East home.
At a press conference Monday, Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino announced the arrest of Anthony L. Snead, 66, and Andy M. Charlton, 38.
Snead is charged with Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Sell and Charlton is charged with Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Sell and Transportation of Drug Paraphernalia.
On April 23, detectives recovered five pounds of marijuana from Snead’s home at 635 Audubon Place, Sarasota. DiPino said detectives discovered during a six-month operation code-named “Operation Hammerhead” that Snead was buying marijuana at $5,000 per pound and selling it at a higher rate for profit.
Five pounds of high-grade cannabis were found in his home, and police estimate that Snead was buying $780,000 to $1,000,000 worth of marijuana a year to sell at a higher profit.
Linda Holland, a neighborhood advocate in the neighborhood of Gillespie Park, said residents in Park East, directly across U.S. 301 from Gillespie Park, have been frustrated with consistent drug activity in the area.
“It sends a very clear message to the drug dealers,” Holland, who attended the press conference Monday, said of the arrest.
“Park East has had problems for many years,” Holland said.
According to police, “Operation Hammerhead” began in September 2012 after an anonymous complaint that Snead was selling drugs from area nightclubs.
Detectives began gathering intelligence and conducting surveillance, and quickly discovered the case may be larger than originally suspected.
Using a variety of investigative methods, detectives discovered Snead was involved in a large-scale marijuana sales operation based from the home he rented at 635 Audubon Place.
This area of the city has been the source of numerous complains of drug sales and prostitution in the recent past, according to a press release.
Detective Greg Grodoski of the Sarasota Police Department Narcotics Unit investigated the case for six months, gathering intelligence, conducting surveillance and numerous other investigative techniques leading to a wiretap of Snead’s phone, according to a press release. Within weeks, detectives were able to determine specific patterns of marijuana delivery to Snead’s residence. On April 23 detectives were able to intercept the delivery of five pounds of marijuana to the residence of Snead and executed a search warrant on his residence. Detectives recovered the five-pound delivery, packaged in vacuum sealed bags from previous deliveries. These bags were cut open and had the names of various marijuana strands written on them.