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Meth-trafficking ringleader idolized Walter White from 'Breaking Bad,' agents say

Father, son arrested in Central Florida methamphetamine-trafficking ring


More than a dozen suspects, including the ringleader who agents say idolized Walter White from AMC's show "Breaking Bad," were arrested in a Central Florida methamphetamine-trafficking ring on Wednesday.

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"Operation True Grit" resulted in the arrest of 16 people on charges of racketeering, trafficking in methamphetamine and conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine over 200 grams, according to Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation agents.

Agents said the man at the center of the investigation was John Wayne Bell, who has an extensive criminal history and has been incarcerated on drug-trafficking operations three times. He was released from prison in December 2014.

His son, John Bell Jr., and wife, Colleene Bell, were also arrested in the bust. Bell's brother-in-law, Charlie Gretzmacher, arrived at the Davenport "stash house" to check on a 12-year-old girl who lives there. She was taken to relatives. Gretzmacher said he wasn't surprised of Bell and his son's arrest.

"That was Johnny doing what Johnny did. That's all I can tell you," said Gretzmacher. He said, however, he was worried about Colleene who is innocent in Gretzmacher's eyes.

"She tried to tell him over and over. She left him would come back, left him, come back."

According to the release, John Wayne Bell used a stash house on Live Oak Lane in Davenport where his family lived, including a 12-year-old, to store the methamphetamine before dividing it up and selling it.

The others named suspects in the bust are in the process of being arrested at several locations in Central Florida, agents said. At least two are not in custody as of Wednesday afternoon.

"Everybody makes mistakes, but sooner or later, you gotta grow up," Gretzmacher told Local 6.

Agents assured folks this was not the end of their operation.

Neighbors said it's a quiet street but there seemed to be a lot of traffic in and out of the Bell home. Most described the man as a nice guy.

Agents are still trying to figure out Bell would use his money. He lived in a trailer in Davenport but owned several cars and a boat.

Agents said the meth was high quality so it is believed to have come from out of the country.

The following have been arrested on a slew of charges, including racketeer-influenced and corrupt organization, drug trafficking and more.

  • John Wayne Bell
  • Robert Foster
  • John Bell, Jr.
  • Colleene Bell
  • Jason Scruggs
  • Philip Hankins
  • Elena Behr
  • Gary Parliament
  • Howard Cook
  • Chris Glader 
  • Amanda Smith
  • Brenda Sullivan
  • Lauria Elias
  • Sandra Smittle
  • Mark Fellows
  • Amanda Hardesty


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