LEE COUNTY, FL – Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers needs the public’s help tracking down a Hendry County fugitive accused of trafficking more than 48 pounds of fentanyl and 380 pounds of meth throughout the state of Florida.
According to authorities, 39 year-old Efren Berumen, Jr. has been eluding law enforcement for his role in a massive drug operation that has already resulted in the arrest of 25 individuals. Operation 13 Tiers was announced last fall after investigators revealed that Carlos Martinez, a Florida prison inmate, and his co-conspirators were instructing gang members with information to move large shipments of narcotics across the United States and into Florida for distribution. Over the course of the investigation, local, state and federal agents seized large shipments to include the fentanyl, meth, heroin, morphine, 45 guns, $150,000 cash and 15,000 additional fentanyl pills. Investigators allege Martinez used a cell phone from behind bars to give orders to 24 of his co-conspirators – all of whom have been arrested and charged with more than 60 first-degree felonies of drug trafficking and violent crimes, to include conspiracy to commit murder. Berumen is the sole suspect who has managed to evade capture since a warrant for his arrest was issued in Hendry County last August.
“Efren Berumen is accused of playing a key role in the distribution of these highly lethal drugs into communities across our state,” said Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Manager. “While it is a win that nearly all of the other individuals involved have been arrested, it is of paramount importance that Berumen is brought into custody so that we can be assured that he isn’t continuing to peddle dangerous drugs into nearly every crevice of the state.”
Detectives say Berumen has ties to Southwest Florida, but could be laying low in Tampa, Orlando or Miami to keep himself from going to prison. He often is referred to by his street name of “Brownie.” Anyone who has seen Berumen, or has information on his whereabouts, is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $3,000 from Crime Stoppers and $5,000 from the U.S. Marshals. Tips may also be made online at www.southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com or on the P3 Tips app.