14 arrested in Central Florida meth trafficking operation

By Amanda McKenzie, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 5:03 PM EDT

A multi-agency operation has arrested 14 people accused of being part of a methamphetamine trafficking organization in Central Florida. Most of which are known and violent repeat offenders. Two people are still on the loose.

The Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI) began to target the organization in January of this year.

The investigation, called Operation True Grit, revealed multiple pounds of methamphetamine were distributed to several individual drug dealers in the Central Florida area. Agents from MBI, FDLE and deputies from Orange, Polk, Marion and Volusia Counties began the search for at least 16 people accused of being part of this drug trafficking organization.

At the center of the investigation is John Wayne Bell, 49, the leader of the organization.

Bell has an extensive criminal history for crimes including trafficking of methamphetamine and cocaine, burglary, counterfeiting, aggravated assault or a police officer and grand theft. Bell was just released from state prison in December of last year, just one month before the MBI investigation began.

“You’re possibly looking at anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 per pound of the methamphetamine. And…the methamphetamine coming in that John Wayne Bell was distributing was very pure, which leads us to believe it was possibly coming from out of the country,” said Lt. Douglas Goerke of MBI.

Bell used what authorities call a "stash house" at a home along Live Oak Lane in Davenport, to store the meth before it was divided up and sold.

A search warrant was executed on the house early Wednesday morning. Bell is now facing a minimum of 20 years behind bars.

Agents are currently in the process of locating and arresting others at several locations across the Central Florida area. Officials have taken into custody 14 people out of 16 people wanted for arrest.

Authorities said other high ranking members of this drug trafficking organization include Bell’s son, John Bell Jr. and his wife, Colleene Bell. This family has been taken into custody. Their charges include trafficking and conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine.

Most of the 16 people have extensive violent criminal histories, records show.

They said they anticipate more arrests and drug seizures as this active investigation continues.

MBI asks if you have any information related to this drug trafficking organization to contact them at 407-836-9701 or Crimeline at 407-423-TIPS (8477).