HardisonInk.com

Wednesday morning crash
claims Branford woman’s life

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 18, 2022 at 4:12 p.m.
     SUWANNEE COUNTY –
A 66-year-old Branford woman died this morning Wednesday (May 18) in a two-vehicle crash, according to information in a Florida Highway Patrol press release, based on information by crash investigator FHP Trooper Kyle Durr and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. Nicholas Hagedorn.

 

More Below This Ad

We have the traffic This is thee place to advertise

 


     The woman was driving a sport utility vehicle eastbound on Suwannee County Road 248 at 10:20 a.m. on May 18, the FHP said. That SUV was approaching the intersection CR 248 with CR 49, the FHP said.
     A southbound semi tractor-trailer driven by a 52-year-old man from Madison was on CR 49, the FHP said, and that truck was approaching CR 248.
     The woman driving the SUV failed to stop at the stop sign, the FHP said, failing to yield to semi.
     Both vehicles collided and came to final rest in the southeastern region of the intersection, the FHP said, causing roadblocks.
     The semi was overturned at final rest, the FHP said, but the man driving it was not hurt.
     As noted, the driver of the SUV was pronounced deceased on the scene, the FHP said.

     As of May of 2020, the Florida Highway Patrol stopped providing names of people and some other information from crashes as part of its press releases.
     Prior to May of 2020, the FHP formerly provided that information via those public records in its press releases.
     The FHP and some other law enforcement agencies in Florida are abiding by a version of something known as “Marcy’s Law” of California, which is allegedly used to protect victims of crimes. The Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” was adopted after Florida voters chose to change the Florida Constitution to exempt more public records from view.
     Although not every vehicle crash involves crime victims, which may have been the legislative intent of the Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” approved by voters, the FHP adopted its current blanket exclusion of some information as part of its process in sending press releases.
     Although the FHP adopted this new practice, not every law enforcement agency has done so.
     For instance, the Chiefland Police Department, the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Ocala Police Department all have provided crash information in press releases or traffic crash reports, except when there is an actual victim of a crime, as demonstrated in the reports provided to the press since the onset of the FHP’s revision in its press release practices in May of 2020.
Crash Report Purchasing
https://services.flhsmv.gov/CrashReportPurchasing/
Florida Crash Data
https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/
Victims’ Rights Information
https://www.flhsmv.gov/victimsrights/

 

 


FBI Jacksonville
Honors Fallen Colleagues

FBI Jacksonville Memorial

FBI Jacksonville Memorial

FBI Jacksonville Memorial

FBI Jacksonville Memorial

FBI Jacksonville Memorial

FBI Jacksonville Memorial



This morning (Monday, May 16) current and former FBI Jacksonville employees participated in a ceremony to honor their fallen FBI colleagues as part of National Police Week.  In addition to the ceremony, 92 flags are on display outside of the FBI facility in Jacksonville in honor of 90 employees, plus two FBI K-9s killed in performance of their duties.
Published May 16, 2022 at 8:12 p.m.  

Information and Photos Provided By FBI Jacksonville Division
Public Affairs Officer Amanda Warford Videll

 


FDACS Office of Agricultural
Law Enforcement arrests
suspected marijuana trafficker

By FDACS Office of Communications
Sent May 16, 2022 at 5:32 p.m.
Published May 17, 2022 at 7:12 a.m.
      TALLAHASSEE –
On Sunday (May 15), the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement (OALE) arrested Gonzalo Andres-Garrido of Taft, California, after OALE officers found approximately 200 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle near the Florida-Georgia line in Nassau County.
     Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried commented on the arrest.
     “While I am a staunch advocate for federal cannabis legalization, our state’s hemp industry established under my department, and for equity and accessibility improvements to our state’s legal medical marijuana program, under current state and federal law,” Commissioner Fried said, “this individual was engaged in illegal activity plain and simple. Our ag law enforcement officers will always crack down on those engaged in any trafficking operations, upholding our laws and protecting Floridians from illicit activity.”
     On May 15, OALE officers stopped Gonzalo Andres-Garrido on Interstate 95 North just before the Florida-Georgia border in Nassau County for failing to enter the Agricultural Interdiction Station 16A Northbound and submit for inspection.
     During the stop, officers found approximately 200 pounds of cannabis hidden in three barrels of the vehicle’s cargo area along with nearly $5,000 in cash. Andres-Garrido was booked into the Nassau County Jail on the following charges with bond set at $302,504.
● Violation of Section 570.15, F.S., Failure to submit for inspection, misdemeanor;
● Violation of Section 893.13 (1)(a)(2), F.S., Possession of cannabis with intent to sell, felony; and
● Violation of Section 893.135(1)(a), FS, Trafficking cannabis of more than 25 pounds, felony.

 


Levy County Sheriff's Office
Levy County Suspects Jailed
Levy County Suspects Jailed
Suspects Jailed May 9 through May 15, 2022

Published May 16, 2022 at 3:12 p.m.

 



Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office logo etc

Suspects arrested in Gilchrist County Florida and put in the Gilchrist County Jail
Suspects Jailed May 9 through May 15, 2022
Published May 16, 2022 at 3:12 p.m.

 


DCSO Logo

Suspected Criminals Put In The Dixie County Jail
Suspects Jailed May 9 through May 15, 2022
Published May 16, 2022 at 3:12 p.m.

 


Dixie County worker injured by tree
Man hurt by tree

Man hurt by tree

Photos Provided By Dixie County Building Official Leon Wright

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 13, 2022 at 2:12 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY –
A Dixie County Building Department worker suffered serious or critical injuries Wednesday (May 11) while on duty and the man was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Gainesville, according to records from Dixie County Emergency Services (DCES).
     Dixie County Building Official Leon Wright noted on a social media website that the worker was sitting in the county-owned vehicle as it idled and he was “… capturing notes regarding a job that he was assigned.”
     The name and title of the victim was not available. Wright and County Manager Duane Cannon were not available for information on Friday.
     The response came after a 9-1-1 call for help, which came after Bryan Griffin told Christina Sears
 to use her phone to call for help, according to information garnered via social media. Griffin heard the crash of the tree hitting the vehicle and then he heard the horn of the vehicle ran to the scene, one of his friends said.
     There, the man who was working in the area reportedly tried to break open a window, but instead he injured his hand. Griffin then is said to have asked Sears to call 9-1-1 for help on her phone because he had dropped his when he ran to the scene.
     DCES records show an alarm was sent at 3 p.m. on March 11 seeking emergency extrication of a victim from a vehicle at 1285 N.E. 575th St., Cross City.
     A vehicle was dispatched at 3:04 p.m. and was immediately on the way, according to records. The first DCES vehicle arrived at the scene 10 minutes later at 3:14 p.m., according to records that were provided by DCES Operations Chief Roy Bass, after he was asked for public records.
     Chief Bass provided the records within an hour of the request on Friday.
     Responding DCES apparatus and personnel included fire-suppression units, Emergency Medical Service units and others. Chief Bass said there was a significant DCES response to the call for help.
     The lead DCES crew member was Kenneth Kurth, according to records.
     The patient was found pinned between the steering wheel and the roof, where a large tree had fallen and collapsed the roof of the vehicle on him or her, according to records.
     Crews removed the upper half of the tree on the passenger side of the vehicle, according to records. Spreaders, which are part of the set of equipment known as the Jaws of Life, were used to lift the tree and roof off of the vehicle, according to records.
     Due to the patient’s condition, records show, he was quickly removed from the vehicle and taken to a DCES ambulance.
     The patient was then taken to a landing zone in Old Town for a medical helicopter to transport him or her to a hospital in Gainesville, according to records.
     All DCES units returned to service by 4:18 p.m. from that response on Wednesday (May 11), according to records.

 


LCSO memorializes officers
LCSO memorial
The front entrance of the Levy County Courthouse is seen here.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 13, 2022 at 8:12 a.m.
     BRONSON –
Members of the Levy County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) honored past Levy County law enforcement officers who passed away during a Law Enforcement Memorial program in the Levy County Courthouse on Thursday (May 12).


LCSO memorial
The parking lot of the Levy County Courthouse in Bronson was dominated by law enforcement vehicles, with some other vehicles by family members of the officers memorialized late Thursday morning.

     Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter was the keynote speaker.
     Two law enforcement officers have died in Levy County in the line of duty since Levy County became a political subdivision of the state of Florida in 1845.
     Levy County was formed March 10, 1845, and became Florida's 27th county.
     The first law enforcement officer to be killed in this county was Atticus H. Ellzey. He was killed on Jan. 28, 1945. Back then, there was not two-way radio contact with a dispatcher in Levy County, although some bigger cities in Florida were using radio dispatch for municipal services.
     The full story and photos when the signs were erected in honor of the late Deputy Ellzey can be seen by clicking HERE.
     Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum spoke about the late Deputy Ellzey during the memorial service on Thursday.
     Before the start of the ceremony, a daughter of the late Deputy Ellzey told HardisonInk.com that every time his middle name has been spelled “Haygood” that was incorrect. She said the spelling should have been “Haygard” and she asked LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond to try to take care to have that correctly spelled in the future.
     The Florida Department of Transportation’s sign, which followed the Florida Legislature’s passage of the local bill to post those signs on the northbound and southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 19 near the town of Otter Creek show the spelling as “Haygood.”
     Lt. Tummond was in charge of the media’s coverage of the event that was not open to the general public and included no advance announcement issued from the LCSO.
     The second police officer killed in the line of duty in the history of Levy County was from the Williston Police Department.
     To see a 2016 story about what used to be an annual memorial even for WPD Cpl. David Wayne Moss, please click HERE.
     WPD Chief Mike Rolls spoke about the late WPD Cpl. Moss who is heralded as having his “End of Watch” on Saturday, July 30, 1988.
     This service on Thursday in Courtroom A of the Levy County Courthouse in Bronson also recognized those members of the LCSO who more recently passed away.
     As noted in a Sept. 26 blog post on a social media outlet by LCSO Undersheriff Brett Beauchamp, Sheriff McCallum was saddened to report the death of LCSO Lt. Duane Dykstra, who was 47 years old. Lt. Dykstra was the Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division. Lt. Dykstra had more than 25 years of law enforcement experience. 
     During his extensive career at LCSO, Dykstra worked as a dispatcher, a patrol deputy, a K9 handler, a narcotics investigator and SWAT Team member. He had been the Criminal Investigation Division Commander since February of 2016. 
     Lt. Dykstra failed to return from a deer hunting trip. He was later found deceased in Goethe State Forest near the intersection of Levy County Road 337 and State Road 121. Lt. Dykstra died from natural causes.
     Another deputy who was honored was LCSO Deputy Allen Breeding. LCSO Col. Mike Sheffield spoke about Breeding.
     In a previously published blog posting by the LCSO on a social media outlet, it was noted that Deputy Sheriff Ray “Allen” Breeding died at the age of 51, in his home from natural causes.
     Deputy Breeding began his LCSO career as a part-time deputy in March of 1991. He served full-time in the LCSO Patrol Division from January of 2005 up until his death. He also worked at the Seminole (Pinellas County) Police Department from 1992 through 2000.
     Another member of the LCSO who became a member of the Levy County Board of County Commissioners and who was memorialized on Thursday was the late Mike Joyner (Oct. 3, 1950-Aug. 4, 2021).
     To read a 2017 story about some recognition Deputy Joyner was given during his lifetime, after retiring from law enforcement, please click HERE
     The program Thursday was not open to the general public, and there was no advance notice inviting people to attend. Previous annual memorial services have been in more public places with easier access, and an open invitation to the general public to attend.

 


Fred Koberlein Jr.
wins circuit court judge election

By John Koch of Independent News Services (INS)
Published May 10, 2022 at 3:12
     LAKE CITY –
Former Williston City Attorney Frederick L. Koberlein Jr. has, for all intents and purposes, won the election to the Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge’s position to which he had sought to be elected.
     Koberlein was the only candidate to qualify to run for election to that office during the qualifying period. Hence, he won the Aug. 23 election even before it happens.
     Koberlein will replace Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Paul Bryan, who will not seek reelection after holding the position for the past 30 years.
     Koberlein opened Koberlein Law Offices in 2013 and served as the city attorney for Lake City, Fort White, and Live Oak and has served as the city attorney for White Springs, Madison, Williston and has been the attorney of record for the Lake Shore Hospital Authority.
      A graduate of the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law, Koberlein began his legal career with the Third Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office.
     Before attending law school, he held a position with the Florida Department of Children and Families. He was awarded the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award in 2016 for his work with juveniles.
     Koberlein is a member of the Rotary Club of Lake City and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity. 
     “I am overwhelmed by the support that I received from my professional colleagues,” Koberlein said, when asked for comment about his appointment.
     The attorney said he plans to serve in the Third Judicial Circuit  “… with dignity and grace. The citizens deserve it.”
     Koberlein will take the oath of office and assume the duties in January of 2023.

 


Two hurt in car crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 6, 2022 at 8:12 a.m.
     LEVY COUNTY –
An Ocala Man suffered critical injuries and a Trenton man suffered minor injuries in a single car crash Thursday evening (May 5), according to a Florida Highway Patrol press release.

     A sedan that was black in color was northbound on U.S. Alt. 27 near the intersection of Northeast 143rd Avenue, which is to the west, northwest of Williston near the Dollar Store that sits on a corner almost as an outpost of business, according to information in the FHP press release based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper J. McConnell, and according to maps of Levy County.
     The driver of the sedan, a 31-year-old Ocala man, failed to maintain his lane of travel and left the roadway on the eastern shoulder of U.S. Alt. 27, the FHP said.
     There was a passenger in the car, a 32-year-old Trenton man, the FHP said.
     The driver overcorrected and crossed over both northbound lanes of U.S. Alt. 27, the FHP said. By northbound, this means they were going in a direction on the highway heading as if they were going from Williston toward Bronson, according to maps of Levy County.
     The sedan entered the median of U.S. Alt. 27, the FHP said.
     The sedan continued westbound before becoming airborne in the median, the FHP said.
     The sedan overturned and crossed over the southbound lanes (which go from Bronson to Williston) of U.S. Alt. 27 (which is also known as State Road 500), coming to final rest on the western shoulder facing south, the FHP said.
     The driver of the sedan, who was wearing a seatbelt suffered critical injuries and was transported to the hospital, the FHP said.
     The passenger, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was transported with minor injuries, the FHP said.
     Usually, a vehicle’s occupant wearing a seatbelt suffers fewer injuries than a person not wearing a seatbelt. In Florida, state law requires people to wear seatbelts or child restraints.
     As of May of 2020, the Florida Highway Patrol stopped providing names of people and some other information from crashes as part of its press releases.
     Prior to May of 2020, the FHP formerly provided that information via those public records in its press releases.
     The FHP and some other law enforcement agencies in Florida are abiding by a version of something known as “Marcy’s Law” of California, which is allegedly used to protect victims of crimes. The Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” was adopted after Florida voters chose to change the Florida Constitution to exempt more public records from view.
     Although not every vehicle crash involves crime victims, which may have been the legislative intent of the Florida version of “Marcy’s Law” approved by voters, the FHP adopted its current blanket exclusion of some information as part of its process in sending press releases.
     Although the FHP adopted this new practice, not every law enforcement agency has done so.
     For instance, the Chiefland Police Department, the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Ocala Police Department all have provided crash information in press releases or traffic crash reports, except when there is an actual victim of a crime, as demonstrated in the reports provided to the press since the onset of the FHP’s revision in its press release practices in May of 2020.
Crash Report Purchasing
https://services.flhsmv.gov/CrashReportPurchasing/
Florida Crash Data
https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/
Victims’ Rights Information
https://www.flhsmv.gov/victimsrights/

 


New WPD officer sworn-in
New WPD Officer
As everyone gets ready for the ceremony, Mayor Charles Goodman (left) gives Stephen Wenk’s son Jordan Wenk the badge that he will pin on his father. Meanwhile Stephen Wenk’s stepdaughter Haley Glowach holds the bible that he will put his left hand on as he raises his right hand and recites the oath of office.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 4, 2022 at 10:12 p.m.
All Rights Reserved
     WILLISTON –
Mayor Charles Goodman administered the oath of office to the first new Williston Police Department officer since the new mayor took office.


New WPD Officer Stephen Wenk
In this video, the oath of office is administered. Then, the badge is pinned, there are hugs and handshakes, and Stephen Wenk begins his career as a police officer with the Williston Police Department on Tuesday night (May 3). To see the video, click on the PHOTO.

New WPD Officer
Williston Police Department Officer Stephen Wenk (left) and his son Jordan Wenk, and Stephen Wenk’s stepdaughter Haley Glowach pose for a photo opportunity after the new member of the WPD has taken the oath of office. City Councilman Elihu Ross is seen in the background.

 
     Stephen Wenk put his hand on a bible held by his stepdaughter Haley Glowach. The new officer recited the oath, and then his son Jordan Wenk, pinned the badge on his father.
     Mayor Goodman, before administering the oath of office, read a statement by the new member of the WPD, which helped people know more about the officer.
     Wenk is a 50-year-old man who first learned about law enforcement when the College of Central Florida was known as Central Florida Community College in 2001, after graduating from high school in 1989 in Michigan.
     He moved to Florida in 1992, and to Ocala in 1994. 
     By the way, his son Jordan Wenk, is 26, a University of Florida graduate, and a deputy with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
     Stephen Wenk’s family has a law enforcement background.
     Instead of becoming a law enforcement officer after graduating from the academy at CFCC, Wenk went into Internet technology (IT) work at Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, which at one time was a top-10 wholesale mortgage lending firm in the United States. That firm became defunct on Aug. 5, 2009, according to records.
     After many years of IT work, seven years as a local business owner, and watching his son complete the police academy and begin his job at the ACSO, Stephen Wenk’s desire for a career in law enforcement surfaced again.
     In October of 2021, at the age of 50, he again enrolled in the academy at the College of Central Florida. He graduated on April 26 (last month), earning the K.C. Alvarez Award, in recognition of having the highest academic achievement.
     Wenk earned the Top Shot Award for first place in firearms qualification, and he earned honors for the highest combined academic score in the graduating class from CF in April of 2022.
     He wanted to work in a small town and chose Williston.
     Wenk said he is honored to serve the residents and visitors of Willison, and he is excited get started.

 


 


Coast Guard Cutter
Pablo Valent homeports
at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg

USCG FRS Pablo Valent in St. Petersburg Florida
In this photo taken April 17, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Pablo Valent, a 154-foot Sentinel-class vessel, is seen before arriving at its homeport at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. Pablo Valent will operate throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Keys conducting drug and migrant interdictions; ports, waterways and coastal security operations; fisheries and environmental protection patrols; national defense missions; and search and rescue.

USCG Photo Provided As A Professional Courtesy

By U.S. Coast Guard PA Detachment Tampa Bay News
Published April 30, 2022 at 7:12 a.m.
     ST. PETERSBURG –
United States Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg receives its first 154-foot fast response cutter (FRC), tomorrow (May 1, Sunday).
     Coast Guard Cutter Pablo Valent, a Sentinel-class vessel, will arrive at its new homeport where the crew will begin training to become certified in law enforcement and rescue operations.
     Pablo Valent is scheduled to be officially commissioned two Wednesday after homeporting, on May 11.
     Pablo Valent will operate throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Keys. There are 12 other FRCs in Florida, which operate throughout the Caribbean Sea.
     Fast response cutters are multi-mission ships designed to conduct drug and migrant interdictions; ports, waterways and coastal security operations; fisheries and environmental protection patrols; national defense missions; and search and rescue operations.
     Each cutter is designed for a crew of 24, has a range of 2,500 miles and is equipped for patrols up to five days. The FRCs are part of the Coast Guard’s overall fleet modernization initiative.
     Fast response cutters feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment as well as over-the-horizon response boat deployment capability and improved habitability for the crew.
     The ships can reach speeds of 28 knots (32 miles per hour) and are equipped to coordinate operations with partner agencies and long-range Coast Guard assets such as the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutters.


Seven more insurrectionists
have licenses suspended

By FDACS Communications Office
Published April 29, 2022 at 2:12 p.m.
     TALLAHASSEE --
Today (Friday, April 29), Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Licensing announced the suspension of seven additional concealed weapon licenses held by individuals involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol.

     This is in addition to the 28 license suspensions announced last year by the Commissioner and FDACS related to the insurrection, bringing the total suspensions of concealed weapon licenses from 35 individuals.
     “On January 6th, we all watched in shock and horror as treasonous individuals attempted to overturn a legitimate election, storming the U.S. Capitol and attacking the core of our democracy. As law enforcement and our judicial system continue working to bring these insurrectionists to justice, my department’s work also continues to hold those involved accountable by using our lawful authority and carrying out our legal duty to suspend the licenses of anyone charged with disqualifying offenses,” Commissioner Fried said. “Today, the announcement of seven additional license suspensions over the past six months is a testament to our commitment to upholding our duty to suspend licenses of dangerous individuals, protecting our fellow Floridians and the integrity of our licensing program. We will continue to enact further suspensions and revocations of licenses as new charges and sentences are issued as required by law.”
     The FDACS Division of Licensing administers Florida’s concealed weapon licensing program and oversees Florida’s private investigative, private security, and recovery services industries. The division’s regulatory oversight of private investigative, private security, and recovery services includes licensing, enforcing compliance standards, and ensuring public protection from unethical business practices and unlicensed activity. FDACS has the ability to and is legally required to immediately suspend a license if the licensee is charged with a disqualifying offense. Once a judgement is rendered, if the sentence disqualifies, FDACS can and must revoke the license.
     Pursuant to Section 790.0601, Florida Statutes, FDACS can neither confirm nor deny whether an individual has ever applied for or received a concealed weapon or firearm license, as this information is exempt from disclosure as a public record.

 


Four teenage suspected
drive-by shooters arrested
2 of 4 teens recently arrested
for manslaughter in Belleview


Information and Mug Shots Provided
By Jeff Walczak, Public Information Officer
Ocala Police Department
Published April 28, 2022 at 8:12 p.m.
     OCALA -
On Wednesday night (April 27), at approximately 11:20 p.m., an officer with the Ocala Police Department (OPD) was in the area of the 2200 block of North Pine Avenue conducting a traffic stop when he heard numerous shots being fired nearby.

     Another OPD officer was in the area as well.
     The first officer went toward the gunshots and saw a white Mercedes four-door sedan going north from Northwest Fourth Avenue, and then going east onto Northwest 20th Street, at a high rate of speed, failing to stop at the stop sign at that intersection. 
     The two OPD officers conducted a traffic stop on that vehicle, which was occupied by four teens. Once the vehicle was stopped, now in the 300 block of Northwest 20th Street, the officers approached the car and found the young men extremely nervous and sweaty. 
     Jarrett Vining Jr., 19, was driving. The front seat passenger was Colton Whitler, 17. The rear right seat passenger was Joshua Vining, 17. In the rear center seat was Hunter Whitler, 16.

 


Colton Whitler and Joshua Vining recently had been arrested by the Belleview Police Department for aggravated manslaughter for the shooting death of another teen.


 
     One OPD officer noticed an empty pistol holster on the front passenger seat floorboard and the other OPD officer noticed the butt of a rifle between the legs of the driver. 
     Due to the presence of firearms and the shooting heard by officers, all subjects were removed from the vehicle and secured for safety and the firearms were secured. The firearms found were an American Tactical AR-style, 5.56 rifle (on the driver's floorboard, concealed between Jarrett Vining's legs); a A Glock 33 .357 caliber pistol on the front seat passenger floorboard in a pizza box, next to the empty holster, where C. Whitler was seated; a Taurus 9 mm pistol was found on the rear passenger floorboard, just under the driver's seat, in close proximity to where H. Whitler was seated; a Glock 42 .380 caliber pistol with a laser sight was found on the rear passenger seat floorboard where Joshua Vining was seated. 
     A spent casing was observed on the rear passenger seat floorboard nearby where the 9 mm and .380 pistols were located. 
     No one in the vehicle possessed a valid concealed weapons permit. 
     At the shooting location, detectives found numerous spent shell casings in the roadway that were consistent calibers for the guns located within the vehicles. Two witnesses notified OPD and were able to identify the vehicle and subjects involved. 
     "Though I'm extremely proud of the vigilance our police officers had during this shooting incident, I'm also very alarmed that just a few weeks ago, two of these teenagers were involved in a manslaughter case in Belleview that ended another teen's life." Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken said. "Here they are again with more felony gun charges. This is yet another disturbing example of legislative failures within our juvenile justice system.”
     The four teens now face the following felonies:
     ● Jarrett Vining, Jr., 19 – Shooting into an unoccupied dwelling, possession of a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
     ● Joshua Vining, 17 – Possession of a concealed firearm.
     ● Colton Whitler, 17 – Discharging a firearm from a vehicle within 1000 feet of a person, shooting into an unoccupied dwelling, possession of a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
     ● Hunter Whitler, 16 – possession of a concealed firearm.

 


FDLE arrests
three correctional officers for murder

Story Provided By FDLE
 Published April 28, 2022 at 9:12 p.m.
     MIAMI -
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) arrested three correctional officers accused of murdering an inmate at Dade Correctional Institution on Feb. 14.
     The officers, Christopher Rolon, 29, Kirk Walton, 34, and Ronald Connor, 24, are each charged with murder. FDLE agents from Jacksonville and Miami, with assistance from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, began the investigation at the request of the Florida Department of Corrections. 
     “In the past two and a half months, FDLE agents and analysts have worked more than 1,700 hours on this investigation, conducting more than 45 interviews and writing 77 investigative reports so far,” FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said. “I am proud of the work our members have done on this case and our partnership with State Attorney Rundle to ensure justice on behalf of the victim and his family.”
     Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who has scheduled a press conference in Miami tomorrow (April 29) commented on the arrest.
     “Staff misconduct, abuse or criminal behavior have no place in Florida’s correctional system,” State Attorney Fernandez Rundle said. “Individuals who are sentenced to incarceration by our criminal courts have lost their freedom but not their basic rights. Inmates should not be subject to forms of ‘back alley’ justice which are actions in violation of Florida law.”
     The leader of the Florida Department of Corrections commented about the suspected murder of an inmate by correctional officers.
     “What happened in this case is completely unacceptable and is not a representation of our system, or of Dade Correctional Institution as a whole,” Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) Secretary Ricky Dixon said. “The staff involved in this case failed, and as an agency we will not stand for this. FDC is committed to providing a safe and professional environment for inmates and offenders. All inmates, regardless of their crimes have a right to serve their time free from victimization and abuse.”
     In the early morning of Feb. 14, a Dade Correctional Institution inmate was scheduled to be transferred to Lake Correctional Institution.
     Lake Correctional Institution is a state prison for men located in Clermont (Lake County). It is owned and operated by the Florida Department of Corrections. It has a mix of security levels including community, minimum, medium, close and maximum.
     Prior to being removed from his cell in the mental health unit, the inmate reportedly threw urine on one officer. Correctional officers placed handcuffs on him and removed him from his single cell. 
     After the inmate was removed, even though he was in handcuffs and compliant with officer commands, agents say the officers began to beat him. The inmate was beaten so badly he had to be carried to the transport van. Once inside, he was placed in a secure compartment by himself.
     On the way to Lake Correctional Institution, the van made a stop in Ocala where the inmate was found dead, laying on a bench inside the van.
     The Medical Examiner determined the death was caused by a punctured lung leading to internal bleeding. In addition, the inmate had injuries to his face and torso consistent with a beating. 
     Rolon, Walton and Connor were arrested this morning (April 28) and booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. One correctional officer remains at large. The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office will prosecute this case. 
     State Attorney Fernandez Rundle is scheduled to hold a press conference tomorrow (April 29) at 2:30 p.m. at the State Attorney’s Office at 1350 N.W. 12th Ave. in Miami.

 


‘We Build the Wall’ suspect
pleads guilty to federal charges
Sentencing set for Sept. 6

Information Provided
By United States Department of Justice
and
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Published April 28, 2022 at 9:12 a.m.
     PENSACOLA –
Brian G. Kolfage, of Miramar Beach, Florida, pled guilty on April 21 for crimes charged in the Northern District of Florida relating to the filing of his 2019 federal income taxes.

     The plea was announced by Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida on April 21. 
     Kolfage entered a guilty plea to three federal charges related to filing false income tax returns for the tax year 2019. With this plea, Kolfage admitted, under oath, that between January of 2019 and July of 2020, he engaged in a scheme to defraud the United States in relation to his 2019 federal income tax returns.
     Kolfage admitted receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from multiple organizations during 2019, including We Build the Wall Inc., which were deposited into his personal bank account. Kolfage failed to report this income to the Internal Revenue Service.
     Upon learning of an investigation into his federal income taxes, Kolfage then filed amended tax returns for 2019 that were also false. These amended tax returns continued to falsely fail to report income deriving directly from We Build the Wall and indirectly from We Build the Wall after being routed through other organizations in order to obfuscate where the money came from.
     Kolfage’s plea was entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York along with a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges filed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for fraud related to donors of “We Build the Wall.”
     Sentencing in this case is currently set for Sept. 6, at 1 p.m. (EDT), at the United States Courthouse in the Southern District of New York before the Honorable United States District Judge Analisa Torres.
     The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David L. Goldberg and Lazaro P. Fields. 
     The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. 
     “As Florida’s consumer protection agency and charity regulator, we take accusations of fraud and charity abuse very seriously. We’re grateful to the U.S. Department of Justice and the federal and state partners who helped investigate this case, including FDACS’ Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement. I hope this guilty plea sends a strong message that anyone who attempts to defraud the people of Florida will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” FDACS Commissioner Nikki Fried said.
     In May of 2019, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services opened an investigation into the charity known as “We Build The Wall.”
     Upon further investigation, the Department’s Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement subsequently referred the investigation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. On Aug. 20, 2020, the U.S. Southern District of New York unsealed an indictment charging Brian Kolfage, Stephen Bannon, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea regarding the “We Build The Wall” charity.
     Following precedent, and pursuant to s. 496.4191, Florida Statutes, the Department suspended the charity registration for “We Build The Wall.”

 


Regional General Hospital of Williston
owner is among suspects
in a $1.4 billion federal fraud case
Trial set to start May 9

Information Provided 
By Amanda Videll, Public Affairs Officer of the FBI’s Jacksonville Office
Published April 26, 2022 at 4:12 p.m. 
     JACKSONVILLE --
Jorge Perez, formerly the developer of what became known as Regional General Hospital, is among the eight people who are defendants charged in a $1.4 billion hospital billing scheme.

     This set of crimes charged results from an investigation led by FBI Jacksonville, according to information from the FBI provided in a press release today (Tuesday, April 26) and in previously released information from Amanda Videll, Public Affairs Officer of the FBI’s Jacksonville Office
     The original press release was dated June of 2020. 
     The trial for Jorge Perez, Ricardo Perez, Aaron Durall, Christian Fletcher, James Porter, Jr., Sean Porter, Neisha Zaffuto, and Aaron Alonzo is currently scheduled to begin on May 9, with jury selection starting at 9 a.m.
     Defendant Nestor Rojas pleaded guilty to Count 1 of the Superseding Indictment earlier this month.

 


The rural hospitals involved in this case are Cambellton-Graceville Hospital (CGH), a 25-bed rural hospital located in Graceville; Regional General Hospital of Williston, a 40-bed facility located in Williston; Chestatee Regional Hospital, a 49-bed rural hospital located in Dahlonega, Georgia; and Putnam County Memorial Hospital, a 25-bed rural hospital located in Unionville, Missouri.
-- FBI Jacksonville Office



     The previous FBI statement is being released again here now. 
      “The FBI views health care fraud as a severe crime problem that impacts every American,” said Special Agent in Charge Sherri E. Onks of the FBI’s Jacksonville Field Office. “Fraud and abuse take critical resources out of our health care system, and contribute to the rising cost of health care for everyone. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate these crimes and prosecute all those who are intent in defrauding the American public.”
     Ten individuals, including hospital managers, laboratory owners, billers and recruiters, were charged (in an indictment in June of 2020) for their alleged participation in an elaborate pass-through billing scheme using rural hospitals in several states as billing shells to submit fraudulent claims for laboratory testing.
     The indictment alleges that from approximately November of 2015 through February of 2018, the conspirators billed private insurance companies approximately $1.4 billion for laboratory testing claims as part of this fraudulent scheme, and were paid approximately $400 million.
     Jorge Perez, 60, of Miami-Dade County; Seth Guterman, 54, of Chicago, Illinois; Ricardo Perez, 57, of Miami-Dade County; Aaron Durall, 48, and Neisha Zaffuto, 44, each of Broward County; Christian Fletcher, 34, of Atlanta, Georgia; James Porter Jr., 49, of Marion County; Sean Porter, 52, of Citrus County; Aaron Alonzo, 44, and Nestor Rojas, 45, each of Miami-Dade County, were charged in an indictment filed in the Middle District of Florida. 
     All defendants (except Sean Porter) were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud. In addition, Jorge Perez, Guterman, Ricardo Perez and Durall were each charged with five counts of substantive health care fraud; Durall and Zaffuto were charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering; Jorge Perez, Guterman, Ricardo Perez, Fletcher, James Porter and Sean Porter were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and the following defendants were charged with substantive money laundering: Durall (three counts); Zaffuto (one count); Jorge Perez (seven counts); Guterman (one count); Ricardo Perez (five counts); Fletcher (two counts); James Porter (12 counts) and Sean Porter (two counts).
     Jorge Perez, Ricardo Perez, and Durall appeared in June before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel B. Toomey of the Middle District of Florida. Initial appearances for Zaffuto, Fletcher, James Porter Jr., Sean Porter, Aaron Alonzo, and Nestor Rojas were scheduled before Magistrate Judge Toomey in June and July of 2020.
      “This was allegedly a massive, multi-state scheme to use small, rural hospitals as a hub for millions of dollars in fraudulent billings of private insurers,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The charges announced today (in June of 2020) make clear that the department is committed to dismantling fraud schemes that target our health care system, however complex or elaborate.”
     A prosecuting attorney shared a comment in 2020 about this case as well.
      “Trust and integrity undergird the confidence and reliability in our healthcare system,” said U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez for the Middle District of Florida. “Fraudulent and deceptive business practices undermine those values and erode the public’s trust in that system. We will continue to pursue those who set these tenets aside and compromise the care and safety of our citizens for profit.”
     The FBI Special Agent In Charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville Field Office shared her thoughts in 2020 about this case, too.
      “The FBI views health care fraud as a severe crime problem that impacts every American,” Special Agent in Charge Rachel L. Rojas of the FBI’s Jacksonville Field Office said in 202. “Fraud and abuse take critical resources out of our health care system, and contribute to the rising cost of health care for everyone. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate these crimes and prosecute all those who are intent in defrauding the American public.”
     Other federal officials commented about the indictment in 2020.
      “OPM OIG remains committed to investigating those who seek to defraud the federal health care system for their own personal gain,” said Deputy Assistant Inspector General Thomas W. South of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Office of Inspector General (OPM OIG). “Schemes that exploit rural hospitals are particularly egregious as they can undermine access to care in underserved communities. We are extremely proud of our criminal investigators and law enforcement partners for their hard work uncovering this complex criminal fraud scheme.”
      “An important mission of the Office of Inspector General is to investigate allegations of health care fraud in union benefit plans,” said Special Agent in Charge Rafiq Ahmad of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL OIG) Atlanta Region. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect the integrity of labor unions and their benefit plans.”
      “Our office, in partnership with our fellow investigative agencies, will continue to comprehensively investigate and bring to justice the people who perpetrate health care fraud,” said Kevin Winters, Amtrak’s Inspector General. “Preventing health care fraud is particularly important to Amtrak because, as a self-insured company, the fraud adversely impacts its operating budget, which is dedicated to multiple critical requirements such as passenger safety.”
     The indictment unsealed in 2020 alleges that the conspirators would take over small, rural hospitals, often in financial trouble, using management companies they owned and operated. The conspirators would then bill private insurance companies through those rural hospitals for millions of dollars of expensive urinalysis drug tests and blood tests, conducted mostly at outside laboratories they often controlled or were affiliated with, using billing companies that they also controlled.
     While outside laboratories did most of these laboratory tests, the conspirators allegedly billed private insurance companies as if these laboratory tests were done at the rural hospitals. 
     According to the indictment, these rural hospitals had negotiated contractual rates with private insurers that provided for higher reimbursement than if the tests were billed through an outside laboratory.
     Accordingly, the scheme used the hospitals as a shell to fraudulently bill for such tests. Further, the indictment alleges that the lab tests were often not even medically necessary. The conspirators allegedly would obtain urine specimens and other samples for testing through kickbacks paid to recruiters and health care providers, often sober homes and substance abuse treatment centers.
     The indictment also alleges that the conspirators engaged in sophisticated money laundering to promote the scheme and to distribute the fraudulent proceeds.
     The rural hospitals involved in this case are Cambellton-Graceville Hospital (CGH), a 25-bed rural hospital located in Graceville; Regional General Hospital of Williston, a 40-bed facility located in Williston; Chestatee Regional Hospital, a 49-bed rural hospital located in Dahlonega, Georgia; and Putnam County Memorial Hospital, a 25-bed rural hospital located in Unionville, Missouri. 
     An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 
     This case was investigated by the FBI’s Jacksonville Field Office, OPM OIG, DOL OIG and Amtrak OIG. Trial Attorneys Gary A. Winters and James V. Hayes of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tysen Duva of the Middle District of Florida are prosecuting the case.
     The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
     The year 2020 markefd the 150th anniversary of the United States Department of Justice.

 


 

 

Click Here to go to the Calendar Page

Ad for College of Central Florida n HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To Go To Website.




Ad for City Of Williston Florida on HardisonInk.com
Click On Ads To Visit Websites

 

Steamers Of Cedar Key HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To Visit Website.

 



Quiet Rural Living Ad on HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To Go To Website.

 


Cash Munny Ad On HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To Go To Website.

 

Camp Valor in Otter Springs Park  HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To Visit Website.

 



Palms Medical Group Ad With HardisonInk.com

Click On Ad To Visit Website.
 

 

Florida Department of Health - get tested. Get vaccinated
Click On Ad To Visit Website.

 

Brandon S. Peters, Esq., ad on HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To Go To Website.


Ad on HardisonInk.com for Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County
Click On Ad To Go To Website.

 

Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition Ad on HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To Go To Website.

 


Click On Ad To See Website.

 

Vote For Sean Brewer For Judge
Click On Ad To Go To Website.

 

 

NCF Regional Housing Authority Ad on HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To Go To Website.




AdLCPC020818
Click On Ad To Go To Website

 

#EdwardJones #NewberryFlorida #SheilaSmith #HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To Go To Website.

 



Central Florida Electric Cooperative Ad In HardisonInk.com
Click on Ad to Visit Website.


Yellow Jacket RV Resort of Dixie County ad on HardisonInk.com
Click Ad To See Webpage.


Taste of Dixie Diner New ad in HardisonInk.com on June 15, 2021
Click On Ad To Go To Website.

 

2nd Street Cafe in Cedar Key
Click On Ad To Visit Website.

 


Click On Ad To Go To Website.

 

All-Out Bail Bonds ad in HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To Go To Website.
 

Robert Echols showing reverence for life
 

 

Ad in HardisonInk.com for Roberts Funeral Home
Click On Ad To Visit Website.

 

Levy County Tourist Development Council Ad On Hardisonink.com
Click On Ad To Visit Website.

 

B4 Signs Ad On HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To Visit Website.

 


Back Door Antiques This is a great place to find gifts
Click On Ad To Visit Website.


Quincey Cattle Co Ad on HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To Visit Website.

 

Am I Registered To Vote
Click On Ad To Visit Website.

 

Waaste Pro cares about community and advertises on HardisonInk.com
Click On Ad To See The Website.



HardisonInk.com


AA Meetings Levy Dixie Gilchrist  HardisonInk.com





Here, Goldy (the now late) cat Hardison (Aug. 12, 2009-Aug. 25, 2021)
plays dead - her signature trick. She was among the great cats of the world.
Cat training and video
By Jeff M. Hardison
© 2012-2021 All Rights Reserved





Here Inky the cat Hardison performs three Olympic jumps to rival the athletes in Brazil in 2016. Wait for it -- JUMP!
Cat training and video
By Jeff M. Hardison
© 2011-2019 All Rights Reserved

 

HardisonInk.com Ad Rates and Reach - Buy An Ad

Please Click Above
To See Ad Rates And Reach.

 

Buy a political ad on HardisonInk.com

 

Smart Realtors advertise with Hardisonink.com

 

HardisonInk.com Buy An Ad From A Winner


Archive HardisonInk.com Levy Dixie Gilchrist counties

Please Click On The Above Ad To Go To The Archived Stories And Photos.