- Associated Press - Saturday, June 4, 2016

MIAMI (AP) - Fifteen people are in federal prison after the takedown of what authorities say was the largest methamphetamine operation in Okeechobee County history.

Ringleader Steven Lee “Wildman” Oakes last week received the stiffest sentence at 25 years behind bars. The other 14 defendants will serve prison terms of between four years and nearly 16 years. All 15 pleaded guilty following their 2015 indictment.

The Miami U.S. attorney’s office says the group distributed a large amount of methamphetamine in Okeechobee and Highlands counties and surrounding areas. The charges were based on a series of undercover buys by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Authorities say the arrests are part of a coordinated effort to stamp out a methamphetamine epidemic.

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