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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Montanez, StephanieNo presence information

Communications Editor 
News Date: 3/30/2011 

 Three Sent To Federal Prison From "Operation Eastside Clean Sweep" 


On March 30, 2011, George "Georgie" Pizano, Jr., Charles "Casper" Harrison, and Omero Penaloza were federally charged and will be sent to federal prison for 20 years, followed by 10 years of probation.

Charges are as follows: 

George "Georgie" Pizano, Jr., DOB: 08/25/1983, 1771 Adair Road, Haines City; Charges: 1 count of sell and distribution of Methamphetamine over 50 grams 

Charles "Casper" Harrison, DOB: 12/07/1977, 960 14th Street NE, Winter Haven; Charges: Conspiracy 

Omero Penaloza, DOB: 04/19/1981, 103 Bridget Lane, Auburndale; Charges: Conspiracy

 

BELOW IS THE ORIGINAL RELEASE: 

Polk County Sheriff's Narcotics Unit Arrests 50 During "Operation Eastside Clean Sweep" 

Undercover detectives assigned to the Polk County Sheriff's Narcotics Unit, working with special agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the State Attorney's Office of the 10th Judicial Circuit, have identified, charged, and arrested 50 suspects during "Operation Eastside Clean Sweep" - an investigation that began in November 2009 and targeted drug dealers who operated mainly in East Polk County. 

George "Georgie" Pizano, Jr., DOB 8/25/1983, of 1771 Adair Road in Haines City, was identified by detectives in November 2009 as a major supplier of Methamphetamine in Polk County, and the ringleader of a large-scale drug trafficking organization. This information was especially interesting to narcotics detectives, due to the fact that in 1991 the Polk County Sheriff's Office had initiated an illegal narcotics trafficking investigation on Pizano's father, George Pizano, Sr. (who was arrested, convicted, and sent to federal prison from 1991-1997). 

This most recent series of arrests included Georgie Pizano, Jr. as the ringleader of a drug trafficking organization, with Charles "Casper" Harrison, DOB 12/7/1977, and Omero Penaloza, DOB 4/19/1981, as Pizano's trusted "lieutenants in charge." 

Through the diligent efforts of the PCSO undercover narcotics detectives, partnering with special agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the State Attorney's Office of the 10th Judicial Circuit, these three suspects were indicted on Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking charges. 

During this investigation, detectives identified 47 additional drug traffickers operating mainly on the East side of Polk County, specifically in the areas of Dundee, Lake Hamilton, and Lake Wales. Charges on these investigations range from Trafficking to Sales charges, including the following illegal narcotics: Methamphetamine, Cocaine, MDMA ("Ecstasy"), Marijuana, Alprazolam (Xanax), Steroids, and Morphine. Polk County Arrest Warrants have been obtained on these 47 subjects as a result of this East Polk County initiative. 

In all, detectives and special agents made 248 felony charges, 32 misdemeanor charges, and 32 trafficking charges against the 50 suspects. They seized 508 grams of Marijuana, 440 grams of Meth, 132 grams of Cocaine, over 160 grams of other illegal narcotics, and over $3,000 of U.S. currency during this investigation. 

During the investigation, four search warrants were served. When detectives served the search warrant at the home of Georgie Pizano, a PCSO agency-issued firearm, which was stolen in 2007, was recovered from his bedroom. Detectives also found Methamphetamine in a dresser drawer in the bedroom of Georgie's young son. Many of these suspects have extensive, and violent, criminal histories (see below). One of the suspects, John Willingham, is a registered sexual offender. 

"This is the largest number of arrests we have made so far this year of drug dealers operating in Polk County," said Sheriff Grady Judd. "Our detectives are the best in the business, and they put their lives on the line every day to take people like these off the streets and keep the people of Polk County safe."