December 12, 2008

Dear Friends,

One crucial part of the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco's mission is to ensure that licensed establishments comply with state laws. When ABT agents discover that a licensed establishment is breaking laws and jeopardizing the safety of Floridians and visitors, they take immediate action to protect the public.

Yesterday, ABT partnered with the Lee County Sheriff's Office to issue an Emergency Suspension Order to Miller's Ale House in Ft. Myers and arrest employees for selling narcotics on the premises. The order immediately suspended the establishment's alcoholic beverage license.

During a two-and-a-half-month-long investigation, undercover officers witnessed restaurant employees selling illegal narcotics — oftentimes in plain view of young children and families. LCSO identified the potential suppliers and associates of the employees involved in the drug deals and contacted ABT for assistance.

Yesterday, the LCSO executed arrest warrants for the five employees charged with selling narcotics on the licensed premises. Another 13 individuals were identified during the course of the investigation and were sought in yesterday's arrest sweep. As of yesterday, 12 suspects had been located and 10 were in custody.

This enforcement effort demonstrates how partnerships between state and local agencies can help protect consumers. It is also an issue that is near and dear to me because during my 30-year career in law enforcement, I was a state-certified police instructor and sole narcotics instructor for all recruits in the Broward County Police and Corrections academies. In addition, I was responsible for training hundreds of police officers throughout the U.S. in narcotics and stalking investigations.

I am grateful to the Lee County Sheriff's Office for their great teamwork, and I am proud of the fact that this collaboration ended the drug activity that was occurring in one of DBPR's licensed establishments. We take the safety of consumers very seriously, and yesterday's operation demonstrates our strong commitment to the people of Florida.


Chuck Drago's Signature

Charles W. Drago

Department of Business and
Professional Regulation
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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December 18, 2008
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