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7 indicted for meth distributing operation in Manatee County

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  • | 2:30 p.m. August 15, 2023
  • East County
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Several subjects involved with a methamphetamine trafficking organization have been indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida, thanks in part to the participation of the Sarasota Police Department and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

The SPD's Strategic Investigations Unit assisted the Homeland Security Investigations division of the Department of Homeland Security, resulting in a 17-count indictment, according to the announcement made by United States Attorney Roger Handberg.

Charged are Clemente Betancourt (27), Estevan Betancourt (18), Larry Lee Woodard Jr. (28), Adonis Bonilla (28), Omar Mejia (28), Jesse Leahy (47) and Alexander Perez (29), all residents of Bradenton, with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. If convicted on all counts, each faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.

According to the indictment, between March 2022 and May 2023, the suspects were involved in a conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine in Bradenton and throughout Manatee County. In addition to the conspiracy charges, the defendants are charged with narcotics transactions on specific dates.

This case was investigated by a joint Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force which includes HSI and the FBI. The Central Florida Gulf Coast High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which includes the Sarasota Police Department, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the North Port Police Department, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Palmetto Police Department, the Bradenton Police Department, and the ATF also assisted with the investigation. 

At the time of the arrests, a search warrant was executed at Clemente and Estevan Betancourt’s house in Bradenton. As a result of that search, three firearms, approximately 1 pound of methamphetamine, 22 cellphones, cocaine and marijuana were seized.


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