Operation Rock Solid Results in 36 Arrests
Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino announced the arrest of 36 individuals in Operation Rock Solid during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Video, photos and soundbites of the news conference can be found on the Sarasota Police Department YouTube page at https://youtu.be/zMlS79xdE0Y
A total of 38 people were involved in the selling of narcotics during Operation Rock Solid, 35 men and 3 women. Two individuals qualified for Drug Market Intervention (DMI), which is no prosecution or deferred prosecution based on their acceptance of the offer to participate and successfully completing the DMI program.
The remaining 36 individuals have a combined 619 prior felony charges, with 252 resulting in felony convictions. Two of these individuals had more than 20 prior felony convictions each. Two of the arrested individuals have been indicted and will be prosecuted in the federal system.
Undercover detectives were utilized to identify the dealers throughout the City of Sarasota and began making covert purchases of illegal narcotics from those involved. The operation utilized the DMI strategy which the Sarasota Police Department adopted as a crime reduction technique in 2012. Crime mapping and citizen complaints were used to identify significant areas of “Open Air” drug markets.
At this time, Officers have arrested 36 of the 38 individuals involved. Officers are continuing to look for the remaining 2 individuals who qualify for DMI. If they cannot be found, warrants for their arrest will be completed.
Operation Rock Solid took place over approximately 4 months, culminating in October 2018. 2 firearms were seized. The name Operation Rock Solid was chosen because most illegal narcotics purchased were rock cocaine (otherwise known as crack) and the cases are “rock solid” from a prosecution perspective.
The purpose of the long-term operation was to disrupt open-air drug markets within the City of Sarasota. Senior members of the State Attorney’s Office met with Sarasota Police detectives and reviewed each case and the criminal history of each individual involved to prepare a prosecution strategy.