Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force orchestrates controlled buys

OKEECHOBEE — A 36-year-old Okeechobee man was arrested Thursday evening after he allegedly sold cocaine on three separate instances to components of law enforcement.

Jamido Joel Bello-Pineiro, Southeast 13th Street, was arrested Aug. 16 by the Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force on felony charges of two counts of possession with intent to sell a controlled substance (cocaine), two counts of trafficking a controlled substance (cocaine) one count of sale of a controlled substance (cocaine) and a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $351,000.

Jamido Joel Bello-Pineiro, 36

According to reports, the first instance occurred on Jan. 31, of 2017. The Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force reportedly met with a past, proven and reliable confidential source (CS) for the purpose of performing what is known as a controlled buy.

According to Florida State Statute 914.28 (2) (b), a “controlled buy” means the purchase of contraband, controlled substances, or other items that are material to a criminal investigation from a target offender which is initiated, managed, overseen or participated in by law enforcement personnel with the knowledge of a confidential informant.

The report noted that the CS has provided information and assisted the task force in the past with narcotics and firearms seizures. The task force reportedly met with the CS, who was searched along with their vehicle for the presence of weapons, U.S. currency and controlled substances, prior to the CS placing a controlled phone call to Bello-Pineiro for the cocaine purchase.

During the phone call that Bello-Pineiro agreed to meet with the CS and sell them an ounce of cocaine at an undisclosed location. Prior to the purchase for a controlled substance (cocaine) from Bello-Pineiro, reports annotated that visual surveillance of Bello-Pineiro was conducted by the task force, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), drive to Okeechobee Store-N-Lock storage, located in the 2700 block of State Road 70 West, and enter unit #48 of building #7. Bello-Pineiro was reportedly at the location for approximately 30 seconds before he left, drove directly from the storage unit and met with the CS.

The CS then reportedly met with Bello-Pineiro and exchanged prerecorded confidential funds in the amount of $1,200, provided by the task force, for the cocaine. The CS then left the transaction location and returned directly to the site where the task force was set, where they collected the suspected cocaine from the CS. The CS was then searched for any additional controlled substances, weapons or U.S. currency of which none were found.

The report stated that approximately 20.7 grams of suspected cocaine was collected and tested positive for the presence of cocaine. The CS was shown a photo of Bello-Pineiro and positively identified him as the seller of the cocaine, which was turned into the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) as evidence and will be later sent to the Indian River Crime Laboratory in Fort Pierce for further analysis.

The second instance that involved Bello-Pineiro’s alleged sale of cocaine occurred on Valentine’s Day last year, Feb. 14, 2017. On that day the task force met with a CS for the purpose of performing another controlled buy of cocaine from Bello-Pineiro.

The same before and after screening procedures occurred with the CS, as mentioned earlier, before this or the next controlled buys were initiated.

The CS reportedly placed a controlled phone call to Bello-Pineiro for the purchase of two ounces of cocaine. During this transaction instance, the CS was placed with an undercover (UC) law enforcement operative, who was provided with prerecorded confidential funds from the task force to purchase the cocaine. Bello-Pineiro reportedly agreed to meet at an undisclosed location to sell the two ounces of cocaine.

The CS and UC then reportedly made their way to the undisclosed transaction site and met with Bello-Pineiro. The CS then introduced the UC to Bello-Pineiro for the purpose of the purchase. Once the UC was introduced, the UC then exchanged the prerecorded funds to complete the transaction for the cocaine. The CS and UC then left the location and made their way directly back to the task force.

In this transaction, 58.1 grams of suspected cocaine was collected by the task force, field tested positive for the presence of cocaine, submitted to OCSO as evidence and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

The third instance that involved Bello-Pineiro’s alleged sale of cocaine reportedly occurred last year at 12:30 p.m. on March 14, 2017. On that day the task force met with a UC for the purpose of performing another controlled buy of cocaine from Bello-Pineiro.

The UC was reportedly provided prerecorded confidential funds by the task force to purchase the cocaine from Bello-Pineiro. The UC then placed a controlled phone call to Bello-Pineiro to purchase two ounces of cocaine. Bello-Pineiro reportedly agreed to meet with the UC at an undisclosed location and sell the two ounces of cocaine during the phone call.

The report then stated that the UC left the task force area, went directly to the undisclosed location and met with Bello-Pineiro. Once at the location, the UC exchanged the prerecorded confidential funds for the cocaine, left the area and returned to the task force.

The 58.5 grams of suspected cocaine was collected by the task force, field tested positive for the presence of cocaine, submitted to OCSO as evidence and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

On March 15, 2017, the task force with the DEA and FDLE, again conducted surveillance on Bello-Pineiro, where at 6:47 p.m. he arrived at the same storage unit and remained for approximately 10 minutes before meeting with two males at the Sunshine Car Wash, located in the 500 block of Northeast Park Street. Officer Luis Rojas, of the Okeechobee Police Department, performed a traffic stop on the vehicle with the two males who met with Bello-Pineiro and found what appeared to be 76 grams of cannabis along with 67.16 grams of cocaine wrapped in electrical tape. The two males were arrested and transported to the Okeechobee County Jail.

On Aug. 17, 2018, at 3:48 p.m. law enforcement executed a search warrant, signed by 19th Circuit Judge Michael C. Heisey, of the storage unit being used by Bello-Pineiro. OCSO Crime Scene Technician Kathleen Watson photographed the exterior and interior of the storage unit prior to search. The search yielded 13 grams of suspected cocaine, packaging materials (electrical tape, varying size sandwich and vacuum sealed bags), a cutting agent, microwave plate, documents and mail of Bello-Pineiro and a picture of Bello-Pineiro, a female and child were all found in the storage unit. The 13 grams of suspected cocaine and microwave plate both tested positive for the presence of cocaine and sent to the lab for further analysis, per the report.

The reports conclude that Bello-Pineiro was arrested, transported and booked into the Okeechobee County Jail on the aforementioned charges. The reports also stated that audio and video were utilized during the entirety of all three transactions.

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