Operation Southeast Auction Service: 120 Arrested in Sting Operation
In this year-long undercover operation, Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies nabbed over 120 thieves and netted almost $1.5 million.
In October, the deputies opened a business called Southeast Auction Service on West Waters in Tampa. They bought illegal and/or stolen guns and drugs. They recovered 102 guns, 50 vehicles (including construction trucks), 40 pounds of cocaine. $78,000 in cash was also seized.
An additional 20 people were identified in the sting, but not arrested by this past Wednesday. Deputies knew these suspects would be difficult to catch, so they set up a ruse offering those suspect a chance at winning a trip to the Orient. Such tactics are often used by law enforcement to locate suspects. Criminal Defense attorneys in South Florida have consistently challenged the level of deception that officers may employ in a criminal investigation for years.
The fake raffle led to ten additional arrests.