Thursday, August 02, 2007, 3 p.m. -- St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Detective Brian Hester has received the Florida Sheriffs Association’s Deputy of the Year award for designing and leading a multi-agency operation that wrecked a huge Fort Pierce drug distribution ring in 2006, according to Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.
“It was a great honor for me to be present Tuesday at the Florida Sheriffs Association Summer Conference at Ponte Vedra Beach (south of St. Augustine) when Detective Hester received this award from Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association,” Sheriff Mascara said. “Detective Hester approached me with an idea back in 2005 for ‘Operation Unlucky 13’ to break up the notorious 13th Street Gang that at one point moved a quarter of a ton of powdered and crack cocaine into St. Lucie County in just 90 days.”
Detective Hester, 36, coordinated Operation Lucky 13, which lasted for 14 months, culminating in 37 arrests in May 2006.
Participating agencies included: the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, Fort Pierce Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, State Attorney’s office, U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The mastermind of the drug gang was Johnny Daniels, 27, of Stuart, who was jailed on federal charges.
In addition to the arrests, investigators served 14 search warrants in Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie, and seized nine firearms, 320 grams of crack cocaine, 595 grams of powdered cocaine, 55 prescription drug pills, more than $197,000 in currency and seven vehicles.
“The entire community can be proud of Detective Hester for originating, planning and coordinating the highly successful shutdown of the notorious 13th Street Gang of Fort Pierce,” Sheriff Mascara said.
Detective Brian Hester also was honored recently as the 2007 Florida Narcotic Officers Association Officer of the year for Region 6, according to Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.
Here are the sentences levied by the U.S. District Court in the case:
• Antonio Ferguson sentenced to 20 years.
• Courtney Washington sentenced to 16 years.
• Derrick Cooper sentenced to life.
• Tyrone Williams sentenced to 27 years.
• Deshon Stacy sentenced to life
• Michael Shepard sentenced to 27 years.
• Lushus Banner sentenced to 10 years
• Katherine Nelson sentenced to 4 years.
• Edwin Hill sentenced to.12 years.
• Marion Mitchell sentenced to 27 years.
• Gosett Heaven sentenced to 27 years.
• Darrell Brunson sentenced to 15 years.