YULEE, Fla. - An undercover drug operation led to the discovery of a meth ring operating between Georgia and Fernandina Beach that was led by a former Georgia law enforcement officer who previously worked in narcotics, according to the Nassau County Sheriff's Office.
Jason Kelly Register, the accused ringleader, and three others were arrested in Operation Ice Breaker, which stemmed from Operation City Sweep, Sheriff Bill Leeper announced at a news conference Thursday.
Over the last several months, according to Leeper, 30 people were arrested on various felony drug-related charges as part of Operation City Sweep, which aimed to reduce drug activity in Fernandina Beach.
The sheriff said while Operation City Sweep was being conducted, the Sheriff's Office Narcotics Division -- working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives -- identified at least four drug traffickers working out of Georgia who were supplying methamphetamine to people in Fernandina Beach and other areas to be sold.
"While we were conducting this operation (Operation City Sweep), something stuck out significantly to our people -- a number of individuals who were selling methamphetamine," Leeper said. "Through investigative techniques and working with our federal partners at ATF, we started Operation Ice Breaker."
During Operation Ice Breaker, which spanned two months, Nassau County detectives and federal agents seized more than 350 grams of meth and two firearms from four people, Leeper said.
Those arrested in Operation Ice Breaker were:
Jason Kelly Register, 40, of Waycross, Georgia
Leslie Erica Lewis, 31, of Jacksonville
Brian Paul Davis, 50, of Jacksonville
Brian Russell Schell, 34, of Yulee
Leeper said Register, the suspected ringleader, previously worked for the Camden County Sheriff's Office and the Darien Police Department in McIntosh County. Leeper added that Register also worked in narcotics at one time.
According to the Sheriff's Office, a total of 19 felony charges were filed between the four arrested. The charges include conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, sale of methamphetamine, using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and felony possession of a firearm.
"This was a collaborative effort between federal and county law enforcement officers designed to counter the emerging threat against organized crime fueled by methamphetamine and heroin trafficking,” Leeper said. "Working together, we will make and keep our neighborhoods as safe as possible."
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