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Operation Hammerhead leads to 2 arrests in Sarasota

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Sarasota police say they've put a marijuana distributor out of business.

Investigators say 66-year-old Anthony Snead purchased nearly a million dollars' worth of pot a year and then would sell it to area drug dealers.

After a six-month operation called ‘Operation Hammerhead,' Sarasota police were able to confiscate five pounds of marijuana from a Sarasota home.

This is high grade stuff, separated into different strands like ‘Blue dream' and ‘Noble Kush.'

Investigators also retrieved nearly $132,000 in cash.

Police Chief Bernadette DiPino said, "It's unacceptable, it's dangerous, it causes violent crime."

Sarasota police chief Bernadette DiPino said last September, officers received an anonymous tip that 66-year-old Anthony Snead was dealing pot.

Investigators soon wire tapped his home on Audubon place and on April 23rd, they watched as 38-year-old Andy Charlton delivered a box with five pounds of pot.

They were soon arrested and authorities searched the house.

"There was a significant profit, a lot of money was being run through this operation," said DiPino.

Officers say Snead would spend around $1,000,000 a year on the drug and then sell it to drug dealers.

Sarasota Police Lt. Pat Ledwith said, "They weren't selling dime bags out of this house. They were selling pounds. So these are mid-level suppliers, and they are supplying other dealers in our community."

Local resident Linda Holland said, "It's illegal activity, it needs to be taken off the street."

Holland has lived in the area for many years, and said this neighborhood has had it's share of crime.

She said, "Sometimes we feel like it's one step forward, two back, but you have to keep doing it, you can't give up."

Police say this drug network has come to an end, and the two men face felony charges.

"We're gonna chase these bad guys to the highest level possible," said DiPino.

Authorities do not believe the marijuana was grown in Sarasota so police are working closely with other agencies to further crack down on this drug network.

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