Team Effort in Operation Sneak-A-Peek Nets Largest Fentanyl Haul in County History

TAVARES, Florida—Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell has a message for those dealing drugs in Lake County…to be continued.

Announcing the largest fentanyl haul in Lake County history at a press conference Thursday, Grinnell spoke to members of the media about a 4-month operation that resulted in 27 people facing drug-related charges after detectives with multiple agencies targeted three high-level drug traffickers and their associates across the county.

Cliff “Sneak” Johnson, 40, Andrew “Smurf” Woodruff, 37, and Charles, “Cuz” Carter, 50, who have collectively been arrested 75 times for felonies, were the main targets of “Operation Sneak-A-Peek” Grinnell told reporters Thursday afternoon.

“Mr. Johnson goes by the street name, “Sneak,” and our detectives took a peek and what Mr. Sneak was up to; hence, the name of this operation,” Grinnell said.

Detectives from LCSO, Clermont Police Department, Eustis Police Department, Leesburg Police Department and Mount Dora Police Department, DEA, FBI, Homeland Security and the Fifth Circuit State Attorney’s Office investigated the trio and found that fentanyl was coming from Mexico into California and Texas and making its way to Lake County, either by shipping methods or transported by vehicle, Grinnell said.

“This was truly a team effort,” Grinnell said.

PHOTO: Bonnie Whicher/Inside Lake

Detectives traveled to Georgia and throughout Florida to crack the case, according to the sheriff.

Detectives recovered a large amount of drugs, including 3.1 pounds of fentanyl, 1.11 ounces of fentanyl pills, 22 pounds of methamphetamine, 2 pounds of cocaine, 1.2 ounces of crack cocaine, 5.7 ounces of heroin, 10 ounces of MDMA and 15 pounds of marijuana. Thirteen guns were recovered, three of which were stolen, in addition to $12,000 in cash, four vehicles and three pill presses. The drugs have a wholesale street value of nearly $300,000 Grinnell said.

Johnson, of Leesburg, is being held in the Sumter County Jail on no bond and is facing 23 charges, including trafficking, conspiracy to commit trafficking, unlawful use of a two-way communication device and possession of numerous different drugs; Woodruff, of Mount Dora, is being held in the Lake County Jail on no bond and is facing four charges, racketeering, conspiracy to commit trafficking in fentanyl  and methamphetamine and, unlawful use of a two-way communication device. Carter, of Leesburg, is charged with conspiracy to commit trafficking in fentanyl and cocaine, and conspiracy to commit racketeering. He is also being held in LCJ on no bond.

The operation also revealed the suspects were dealing Isotonitazene, commonly known as ISO, a synthetic opioid that can be 20 to 100 times more potent than fentanyl, Grinnell said.

Seventeen suspects have been arrested and cops are still looking for nine more.

Grinnell had a message for those he calls “pushers of poison.”

“Operations like these save lives and put the pushers of poison behind bars. So here in Lake County, I say, to be continued.”

State Attorney Bill Gladson said some of the charges carry minimum mandatory prison sentences of at least 15 years.

Several documents in each of the suspects’ cases have been sealed and many details of the undercover operation are not available. 

PHOTO: Bonnie Whicher/Inside Lake

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