Clewiston police arrest ‘Dirty Dozen’ after 10-month-long undercover operation

On the top row from left to right: Willie Lee Foster, J.C. Davis III, Roger Freeman. On the bottom row from left to right: Larry Hall Jr., Allah Leviticus Lawrence, Lance McCullough.

On the top row from left to right: Willie Lee Foster, J.C. Davis III, Roger Freeman. On the bottom row from left to right: Larry Hall Jr., Allah Leviticus Lawrence, Lance McCullough.

The Clewiston Police Department announced on Jan. 10 the completion of a 10-month-long undercover drug operation dubbed, “Dirty Dozen.”

According to a press release provided by the department, officers spent two days “sweeping up” alleged drug offenders identified during months of undercover work. Officers targeted alleged narcotic transporters and suppliers within the community, and between Jan. 8 and 10, 12 individuals were arrested and three more remained at large. In all, Clewiston police reported 15 individuals would be arrested in connection with the operation, totaling more than 30 criminal charges.

In the press release, Clewiston Chief of Police Don Gutshall stated, “The men and women of the Clewiston Police Department are committed to our community by ensuring that the safety and quality of life for our

citizens are protected. We vow to continue to target those elements both within and without the city of Clewiston who pose a threat to those qualities.”

On the top row from left to right: Carlos Rivera III, Victor Luis Ruiz Jr., Tiffany Latoya Simpson-Najera. On the bottom row left to right: William Henry Smith, Derrick Cornelius Webber. Not pictured: Dakota Lee Chesney.

On the top row from left to right: Carlos Rivera III, Victor Luis Ruiz Jr., Tiffany Latoya Simpson-Najera. On the bottom row left to right: William Henry Smith, Derrick Cornelius Webber. Not pictured: Dakota Lee Chesney.

In an interview with The Clewiston News, Chief Gutshall said the police department has not pushed this hard on narcotics in a long time. After watching troops at the patrol level and seeing which types of drugs turned up at traffic stops, Chief Gutshall said he could see an increase in the amount of narcotics on the streets, a number he said he hasn’t seen for years.

“Six, seven, eight years ago, you couldn’t buy this stuff in Clewiston,” said Chief Gutshall. “We [Clewiston police] pushed it back into the county, but in the last few years, we’ve had to pull back in scope because of cuts in personnel, so this stuff has come roaring back.”

Chief Gutshall said he was “appalled” by the variety of narcotics found during the 10-month-long operation, and in his opinion, methamphetamine is the “most dangerous” drug out there.

Methamphetamine is a schedule II narcotic, meaning it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and has a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.

Of the dozen arrested last week, at least half were charged with either possession of or sale or delivery of methamphetamine.

The remaining charges included possession of cocaine, with which at least seven of the 12 were charged, and sale or delivery of opium or an opium derivative, with which at least two were charged.

The arrests came after a grueling 10-month-long undercover operation, which Chief Gutshall said started out small, before morphing into something bigger than the Clewiston Police Department had expected.

“We eased into it [the operation],” said Chief Gutshall. “We allowed [the officers] to dirty up and grow their hair long and got them out in the town.”

Chief Gutshall said he originally thought the operation would last about three or four months and only a few arrests would be made. The operation, however, spread out more and more and resulted in a dozen arrests by Jan. 10, with more to come in the following days.

Undercover officers spent much of those long months developing relationships with the people they were targeting, in order to put them “at ease,” explained Chief Gutshall.

“One buy can take several hours to set up,” said Chief Gutshall. “An officer may spend two to four weeks on one person and it may turn out that it doesn’t work.”

Chief Gutshall was proud of the work his officers did during operation, “Dirty Dozen,” and said drug operations are certainly something the Clewiston police “needs to keep doing.”

Lieutenant Rowan, a key player in operation “Dirty Dozen,” agreed with Chief Gutshall’s desire to continue such operations.

“We need to clean up this community,” said Lieutenant Rowan. “It is riddled with narcotics.”

Arrested in the two-day sweep were (names not in same order as mugshot photos above):

Willie Lee Foster
Two counts of sale or delivery of controlled substance
Two counts of possession of cocaine
Sale or delivery of cocaine

Larry Hall Jr.
Three counts of sale or delivery of controlled substance
Sale or delivery of cocaine
Possession of cocaine

Lance Maurice Mccullough
Possession of cocaine
Sale of a controlled substance within 1,000 ft of public park
Sale or delivery of controlled substance
Trafficking in illegal drugs, 4 grams or more

Derrick Cornelius Webber
Sale or delivery of controlled substance

Tiffany Latoya Simpson-Najera
Sale or delivery of controlled substance

Roger Freeman
Sale of cocaine within 200 ft of public housing
Possession of cocaine

J.C. Davis III
Possession of cocaine
Sale or delivery of cocaine
Possession of controlled substance
Sale or delivery of controlled substance

William Henry Smith
Possession of cocaine
Possession of cocaine with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver

Allah Leviticus Lawrence
Possession of marijuana not more than 20 grams
Sale or delivery of cannibus

Dakota Lee Chesney
Possession of a controlled substance
Trafficking in illegal drugs, 4 grams or more

Carlos Rivera III
Possession of controlled substance
Sale or delivery of controlled substance

Victor Luis Ruiz Jr.
Possession of controlled substance
Sale or delivery of controlled substance
Possession of cocaine
Sale or delivery of cocaine

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