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Man busted after allegedly trespassing
suspected drug law violator

 

 

 


Jeffrey Scott Runde
Mug Shot By GCSO

 

 


By Jeff M. Hardison
© Aug. 14, 2022 at 9:12 a.m.
     GILCHRIST COUNTY –
A 58-year-old Bell man began a short-term residential stay in the Gilchrist County Jail after deputies found him in possession of methamphetamine and the paraphernalia to put it into his bloodstream via his lungs, according to information from a Saturday night (Aug. 13) press release from Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz.




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     Jeffrey Scott Runde, 58, of Bell was put in jail on Thursday (Aug. 11) after being arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, with bond set at $15,000; possession of drug equipment, with bond set at $5,000; and destroying evidence, with bond set at “release on own recognizance,” Sheriff Schultz noted.
     On Aug. 11, Sgt. Garth Frier and Dep. Matthew Adams responded to some property in the area near U.S. Highway 129 and near Gilchrist County Road 138, north of Trenton, in reference to a person trespassing on private property, the sheriff said.
    When Dep. Adams and Sgt. Frier found the man, later identified as Runde, Dep. Adam's saw a drug pipe on the ground beside Runde, Sheriff Schultz said. Further investigation revealed a container with methamphetamine on Runde’s person, the sheriff said.

 


Man arrested for crimes against animals
Suspected Criminal
Roberto Arevalo Miranda

Mug Shots By CCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 13, 2012 at 8:12 a.m.
     CITRUS COUNTY –
A 65-year-old Dunnellon man was arrested Wednesday (Aug. 10) on nine counts of animal breeding for the purpose of fighting {Florida Statute 828.122(3)(a)} and two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty {Florida Statute 828.12(1)}, according to information in a press release from Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Community Relations Specialist Linda Linthicum.
     For those 11 crimes, Roberto Arevalo Miranda, 65, of Dunnellon was arrested and placed in the custody of corrections officials at the Citrus County Jail with total bond set at $47,000, Linthicum said.
     "We will not tolerate this type of activity in Citrus County," Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said. "Know that if you participate in any way in the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals, we will arrest you and make sure you are held accountable for your actions. We encourage citizens to call 352-249-2790 to report suspected animal cruelty to help us help defenseless animals that can't speak for themselves."
     On Aug. 10, Community Crime Unit detectives along with CCSO Animal Control responded to 6619 W Copenhagen St. in Dunnellon in reference to suspicion of breeding roosters for fighting, Linthicum said.
     Investigators found several small A-frame-style structures on the property with roosters tethered underneath those structures, Linthicum said.
     Miranda stays on the property in a camper near the small A-frame-style structures, Linthicum said. Miranda told investigators that he stayed on the property and worked for his friend who raises roosters to ship to the Philippines for fighting, Linthicum said.
     Miranda has lived on the property for approximately eight months and has started raising his own roosters to send to the Philippines for rooster fighting, Linthicum said. As the investigation progressed, Miranda claimed ownership of nine roosters for fighting, Linthicum said.
     CCSO Animal Control seized 59 roosters and hens, Linthicum said. Two dogs on the property with inadequate food, water, and shelter were seized by CCSO Animal Control as well, Linthicum said.
     Further investigation is ongoing to determine if any other suspects are related to this illegal breeding operation or if there is any connection to the previous case of cock fighting in Floral City, Linthicum said.

 


Deputies and community
capture suspected thief

suspected thief

 

 

 

 


Christopher Lee Estevez
Mug Shot By GCSO

 

 

 

By Jeff M. Hardison
© Aug. 12, 2022 at 8:12 p.m.
     GILCHRIST COUNTY –
A suspected thief is in the Gilchrist County Jail now after a team of deputies and area residents worked together to take the suspect out of the land of the free and put him into the jail.

     Christopher Lee Estevez, 22, of Branford is charged with three counts of burglary of an unoccupied structure with bond set at $150,000; two counts grand theft of a motor vehicle with bond set at $100,00; one count of grand theft with bond set at $50,000; and one count of resisting an officer / flee elude, with bond set at $50,000, for total bonds of $350,000, Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz noted in a press release sent at 2:18 p.m. on Aug. 12.
     On Aug. 9, the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office received reports of two separate burglaries and thefts of ATVs along with other equipment from different locations in northern Gilchrist County, Sheriff Schultz said.
     Two suspects were seen on an ATV matching the description of one that had been stolen from one of the crimes scenes, the sheriff said.
     When a landowner and law enforcement approached the suspects, they left at a high rate of speed, crashed, and then restarted the ATV very quickly and fled the scene, Sheriff Schultz said.
     An extensive investigation and search were conducted by many GCSO deputies, led by Capt. Scotty Douglas and assisted by several landowners in the area, the sheriff said.
     Estevez was arrested in the early morning hours today (Friday, Aug. 12) by Capt. Douglas and Sgt. G. Frier, the sheriff said. 
     The captain and the sergeant were assisted by Deputy M. Adams and Deputy A. Colson, the sheriff added.
     Two ATVs have been recovered along with a generator, Sheriff Schultz said. The investigation to locate the remaining property is ongoing, Schultz said. More charges on additional suspects are anticipated, he added.
     Sheriff Schultz noted his appreciation for the men and women of the GCSO and for the landowners in the area for their hard work and assistance in bringing this suspected criminal to justice. 
     Captain Douglas reported that the "One Team, One Mission” concept worked to near perfection with residents and law enforcement officers working together to catch Estevez.

 


First day of school
brings first school bus crash

By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 11, 2022 at 8:12 a.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
Yesterday (Wednesday, Aug. 10) heralded the start of school in the Tri-County Area of Levy County, Dixie County and Gilchrist County as well as in other parts of Florida, like Marion County.
     A relatively minor crash involving a school bus with 25 children aboard and a sedan serves as a reminder to drivers to be on the lookout for school buses and schoolchildren.
     A car driven by a 19-year-old man from Ocala was backing up as it went northbound in the driveway at the address of 12550 S.W. 66th St., in Ocala, as it went toward Southwest 66th Street, the Florida Highway Patrol noted in a press release.
     A school bus with 25 young students was eastbound on Southwest 66th Street, the FHP said.
     The car driver 1 failed to properly back the sedan he was operating, the FHP said.
     As a result, the rear of the car hit the right side of the school bus, the FHP said.
     After the relatively minor crash, the car went off to the address of 12550 S.W. 66th St, the FHP said, and the bus relocated to the grassy southern shoulder of the roadway.

     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/

 


Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods
introduces newest K-9

MCSO K-9 Albi - finder of guns ammo and more
Albi, a German Short-Haired Pointer, joins the MCSO School Resource Officer Division this school year. She can detect guns, ammo and more.

Story and Photo Provided
By MCSO Lt. Paul Bloom
Public Information Director
Published Aug. 9, 2022 at 7:12 p.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
Today (Tuesday, Aug. 9), Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods introduced the newest, four-legged member of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office’s School Resource Officer (SRO) Division.
     Beginning this school year, Albi, a German Short-Haired Pointer, will join the ranks of the MCSO SRO Division as Marion County’s first firearms detection police canine.
     Together, Albi and her handler, MCSO Cpl. Erik DeAngelis, will be patrolling schools and school events. Albi is trained to detect firearms, ammunition, ammunition casings that have been fired, post-blast residue (after a firearm has been fired), smokeless powder, gun oils, and gun lubricants.
     Corporal DeAngelis and Albi will be randomly visiting area schools as well as extracurricular and sporting events checking for firearms and ammunition. The goal of this new team is to deter potential gun violence at Marion County’s schools.
     “With gun violence among our youth on the rise across this nation, my office, along with School Superintendent Dr. Diane Gullett and your Marion County School Board, want to lead the
fight against these crimes here in Marion County,” Sheriff Woods said. “As parents, we value our children more than anything
else in our lives. As your Sheriff, I am going to make every effort to protect them, and this is just one of our newest tools in that fight. By helping keep guns out of our schools, this dog will save lives.”
     The sheriff thanked people who made this possible.
     “I want to thank the gracious donors that made this possible and who even provided donations for a second firearms detection dog to join Albi very soon,” Sheriff Woods said. “I would also like to thank Superintendent Gullet and the Marion County School Board for their willingness to work together with my office and keep student safety a priority.”
     The top law enforcement officer in Marion County warned people against violating the law.
     “Now, to the would-be perpetrator who thinks they want to bring a firearm to a school or a school function, just remember, we will be there,” Sheriff Woods said. “Albi will be there. You will be caught, and you will be brought to justice!”

 


Florida Highway Patrol
enters Nationwide
Best Looking Cruiser Contest

~ A vote for FHP is a vote for Florida! ~
Vote For FHP Cruiser

Story and Photo Provided
By Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle
Published Aug. 9, 2022 at 8:12 a.m.
     TALLAHASSEE –
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) has entered a nationwide competition to determine which state highway patrol has the best-looking cruiser – and FHP is asking for the public's support.

     Voting for the American Association of State Troopers annual "Best Looking Cruiser" Contest begins today and continues through Thursday, August 25, 2022.  
     Floridians can support the Florida Highway Patrol and vote by following these simple steps:
     Visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QHXV8ZS 
Select “Florida” from the drop-down menu at the bottom of the page
     Click “Done"
     The Florida Highway Patrol’s submitted photo was taken by a Trooper on the island community of Marathon in the Florida Keys and showcases the unmatched views and natural scenery of the Sunshine State. 
     The winner of the contest will be presented with the Best Looking Cruiser Award and will featured on the cover of the AAST’s “America's Best Looking Trooper Cruisers 2023” Wall Calendar. Calendar sales benefit the American Association of State Troopers Foundation, which provides educational scholarships to dependents of member troopers.

 



Levy County Sheriff's Office
Suspects Jailed In Levy County Florida
Suspects Jailed In Levy County Florida

Suspects Jailed Aug. 1 through Aug. 7, 2022
Published Aug. 8, 2022 at 7:12 p.m.
 


Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office logo etc

Gilchrist County Suspects Jailed
Suspects Jailed Aug. 1 through Aug. 7, 2022
Published Aug. 8, 2022 at 7:12 p.m.
 


DCSO Logo

Suspected Criminals Put In The Dixie County Jail
Suspects Jailed Aug. 1 through Aug. 7, 2022
Published Aug. 8, 2022 at 7:12 p.m.
 


Trooper hurt
when pickup truck hits FHP sedan

By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 5, 2022 at 9:12 a.m.
     ALACHUA COUNTY –
A Florida Highway Patrol trooper suffered minor injuries in a crash yesterday afternoon (Thursday, Aug. 4) when a pickup truck hit his marked patrol car, according to information in a press release from FHP Sgt. William Ernst and follow-up information provided by FHP Lt. Patrick Riordan.

     The trooper was treated on the scene by Alachua County EMS, Lt. Riordan said, and did not require transport to a hospital.
     The other driver was not hurt, the FHP said.
     At 1:11 p.m. on Aug. 4, a pickup truck driven by a 69-year-old man from Houma, Louisiana, was towing a trailer as it went eastbound on State Road 222 (Northwest 39th Avenue) in the inside lane approaching the intersection with Northwest 91st Street, in Gainesville, the FHP said.
     A marked FHP patrol car driven by a 44-year-old Gainesville man, who is an FHP trooper, westbound on SR 222 in the inside lane approaching the intersection with Northwest 91st Street, the FHP said.
     The driver of the pickup truck attempted a U-turn from the eastbound inside lane to the westbound lane of SR 222, the FHP said.
     The front of the pickup truck ran into the left side of the marked FHP patrol car, the FHP said.
     The pickup truck came to final rest blocking both westbound lanes of SR 222, the FHP said.
     The FHP sedan rotated counterclockwise, the FHP said, coming to rest facing in a southeast.
     The pickup truck driver was cited for violating the right-of-way, the FHP said. Both the uninjured pickup truck driver and the injured FHP trooper were wearing seatbelts, 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/

 


Williston woman dies in crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 3, 2022 at 3:12 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY --
A 49-year-old Williston woman died in a crash this morning (Wednesday, Aug. 3) in a two-vehicle crash, according to information in a Florida Highway Patrol press release.
     The FHP notified the victim’s next-of-kin prior to sending the information, the FHP said.
     A 2017 Ram pickup, driven by a 52-year-old man from Williston, was southbound on State Road 121, one-half mile south of Northeast 65th Street at 7:15 a.m. on Aug. 3, the FHP noted, based on information from crash investigator FHP Trooper Michael Thomas and homicide investigator FHP Cpl. Mark Baker.
     A 2021 Nissan Kicks, driven by a 49-year-old woman from Williston, was travelling northbound on SR 121, the FHP said.
     The pickup truck went across the center line where it hit the Nissan sedan head-on, the FHP said.
     After the car was struck by the pickup truck, the Nissan went onto the eastern grassy shoulder of SR 121, where it overturned, the FHP said.
     After the collision with the Nissan, the Ram overturned onto its right side, the FHP said. The truck came to final rest on SR 121, the FHP said. The car came to final rest on the east grass shoulder, the FHP said.
     The man was transported to Shands Hospital in critical condition, the FHP said. The woman was pronounced dead on scene by Levy County Fire Rescue, 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/

 


Meth suspect count continues
to rise in Gilchrist County

Suspected Meth Owner

 

 

 

 


Terry Joseph Lemming
Mug Shot By GCSO

 

 

 

 

 

 


By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 2, 2022 at 12:12 p.m.
     GILCHRIST COUNTY –
A traffic stop in Gilchrist County resulted in a person being arrested as a suspect of possessing methamphetamine, according to information in an Aug. 2 press release from Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz.
     On Aug. 1, while patrolling the north end of the county, Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Deputy J. Valencia discovered a dark in color, Ford Explorer in violation of Florida Statutes, Sheriff Schultz noted in the press release sent by email on Aug. 2 at 11:12 a.m.
     Members of the GCSO team have arrested a number of suspected meth possessors recently, according to records, continuing the sheriff's goal to provide for the protection of life and property in Gilchrist County.
     A traffic stop was initiated, and the vehicle was stopped on Gilchrist County Road 138, the sheriff said. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Terry Joseph Lemming, 43, of Bell, Sheriff Schultz said.
     During the traffic stop, a drug investigation was initiated resulting in Lemming being arrested for possession of 4.1 grams of methamphetamine, the sheriff said. The man was also arrested on the charge of driving while license is suspended or revoked (DWLSR), Schultz said.
     Lemming has eight previous felony convictions and four misdemeanor convictions, Schultz said.
     The two charges he went to the Gilchrist County Jail for on Aug. 1 are possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), with bond set at $15,000, and DWLSR, with bond set at $2,500, Sheriff Schultz said.

 


15 busted for cockfighting in two counties
suspects in Marion County
The eight suspects arrested in Marion County are seen above

Mug Shots By MCSO 


Cockfighting ring in Citrus County
The cockfighting ring in Citrus County is photographed after the arrests.

Photo Provided By CCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:12 p.m.
     MARION and CITRUS COUNTIES –
Fifteen people in two counties went to jail Saturday (July 30), charged with crimes related to illegal cockfighting, according to information from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and the Citrus County Sheriff's Office (CCSO).
     In Marion County, on July 30, the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team (UDEST), along with Marion County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) deputies, AIR-1, and Marion County Animal Control (MCAC), developed probable cause to obtain a search warrant for an illegal cockfighting operation located at 6950 N.W. 44th Ave., in Ocala, according to information from the MCSO Public Information Office.
     As a result of the investigation, Cameron Taylor, Travis Lowe, Alan David Edwards, Tyrese Taylor, Brandon Taylor, Shaun Stuart, Levi Stuart, and Dale Gorney were arrested after they were captured while trying to flee the area, the MCSO said.
     During a search of the location in Marion County, 34 roosters were located. Twenty-eight roosters were found deceased in piles scattered across the property, the MCSO said, and three were severely injured.
     Three roosters were located in a vehicle, alive and unharmed, the MCSO said. UDEST agents, MCSO deputies, and MCAC officers also located a makeshift fighting ring with fresh blood and loose rooster feathers inside of the ring.
     Additionally, while searching the inside of vehicles and trailers on the property, investigators located cages, medical equipment for injured roosters, injectable muscle power for roosters, derby pills, metal spurs, and numerous items of paraphernalia associated with cockfighting, the MCSO said. During a search of Cameron Taylor’s vehicle, investigators located cash, two firearms, and live ammunition, the MCSO said.
     In 2011, Cameron Taylor was convicted of animal cruelty after shooting his neighbor's dog, the MCSO said.
     The following listed individuals were arrested, charged accordingly, and transported to the Marion County Jail.
     ● Cameron Taylor, 54, attending the fighting or baiting of animals; owning, possessing or selling equipment used in animal fighting; possession of firearm by a convicted felon; and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.
     ● Travis Lowe, 33, attending the fighting or baiting of animals; resisting arrest without violence; and owning, possessing or selling equipment used in animal fighting.
     ● Alan David Edwards, 54, attending the fighting or baiting of animals; and owning, possessing or selling equipment used in animal fighting.
     ● Dale Gorney, 37, attending the fighting or baiting of animals; and owning, possessing or selling equipment used in animal fighting.
     ● Brandon Taylor, 30, attending the fighting or baiting of animals; and resisting arrest without violence.
     ● Tyrese Taylor, 21, 
attending the fighting or baiting of animals; and resisting arrest without violence.
     ● Shaun Stuart, 37, attending the fighting or baiting of animals
     ● Levi Stuart, 15, (juvenile), attending the fighting or baiting of animals.

CITRUS COUNTY
     Meanwhile, the same day in Citrus County there were similar arrests.
     On July 30, at approximately 12:27 p.m., Citrus County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) deputies responded to 12599 S Florida Ave., in Floral City in reference to a noise complaint, the CCSO said.
     Deputies immediately recognized the property was being utilized as a cockfighting venue and made contact with the homeowner, Jose Hernandez, the CCSO said.
     Six other individuals were detained by deputies in reference to the suspected criminal activity taking place on the property, the CCSO said.
     Citrus County Animal Control and CCSO's Community Crimes Unit detectives responded to assist with the investigation.
     "This was not your average noise complaint on a Saturday afternoon. Instead of CCSO deputies discovering a possible party with loud music, they found plain evidence of this organized criminal activity," Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said. "Thank you to our citizens who contact us to investigate these types of nuisances because you are the eyes and ears' helping us put criminals behind bars."
     During the investigation, it was determined that individuals had traveled from all over the state with the intention of participating in the fighting of roosters, the CCSO said. The property was set up with an arena, along with numerous cages, holding pens, scales, timers, and a scoreboard enabling bets to be placed on the fighting roosters, the CCSO said.
     Behind the area were several freshly dug holes containing deceased roosters with artificial fighting spurs still affixed to their legs, the CCSO said
     "In this age of technology, it baffles and disgusts me that individuals will still seek out to harm animals for their pure entertainment," said Lora Peckham, CCSO Animal Control Unit Supervisor. "I am extremely grateful to my team and the outstanding staff at Citrus County animal shelter for saving these helpless animals, working well into the midnight hours."
     CCSO's animal control officers seized more than 60 roosters, along with other animals contained on the property that lacked proper care and were in distress, the CCSO said. Detectives also seized the fighting equipment, along with approximately $5,200 in cash that was utilized for placing bets on the fighting roosters.
     "Cockfighting is an illegal, gruesome sport with no place in our community," stated Animal Services Director Colleen Yarbrough. "Citrus County Animal Services staff will be collecting veterinary forensic evidence and providing care for the victims. We urge citizens to speak up about animal cruelty -- if you see something, say something."
     ● Jose Joaquin Hernandez, 58, was arrested and charged in accordance with Florida Statute 828.122 (3) (d), Fighting or baiting animals and promoting, staging, advertising, or charging any admission fee to a fight or baiting between two or more animals. His bond was set at $5,000.
     The following individuals were also arrested and charged in accordance with Florida Statute 828.122 (3) (h), Fighting or baiting animals and/or attending the fighting or baiting of animals. Bond was set at $5,000 for each of them.
     ● Carlos Rodriguez Cortes, 72, of Orlando.
     ● Ramon Luis Castro, 80, of Hudson.
     ● Rafael Rosado Lopez, 60, of Hudson.
     ● Pedro Antinio Gutierrez, 65, of Kissimmee.
     ● Elias Junior Domenech, 24, of Orlando.
     ● Melbin Yamil Mojica-Torres, 42, of Orlando. 

 


Five hurt in two-vehicle crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 1, 2022 at 9:12 a.m.
     GILCHRIST COUNTY –
Five people were hurt in a two-vehicle crash in Gilchrist County Sunday evening (July 31), according to information in a press release from the Florida Highway Patrol. One of the victims was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Gainesville, the FHP noted.

     A sport utility vehicle (SUV) and a pickup truck were the vehicles involved in the crash at State Road 47 and Gilchrist County Road 340 on July 31 at 6:45 p.m.
     The SUV was westbound on CR 340, when it failed to stop at the intersection of SR 47, according to information in the FHP press release based on the report by crash investigator FHP Trooper Thomas Brown.
     The SUV was driven by a 23-year-old woman from Deltona (Volusia County), the FHP said. The passengers in the SUV were a 22-year-old woman from Orange City (Volusia County) and a 33-year-old man from Deland (Volusia County), the FHP said. The third passenger in the SUV was a male, however his age and city of residence were not listed in the press release.
     The pickup truck was northbound on SR 47, and it was driven by a 27-year-old man from Moultrie, Georgia, the FHP said. He was the only occupant, the FHP said.
     As the SUV went through the intersection, the FHP said, it hit the pickup truck on its right side, the FHP said.
     The pickup truck overturned, the FHP said. The driver was wearing a seatbelt, the FHP said.
     One passenger inside the SUV was ejected, the FHP said. None of the occupants of the SUV were wearing seatbelts.
     The driver of the pickup truck and the three passengers of the SUV were transported to UF Health by ambulance. The driver of the SUV was airlifted to UF Health, 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/

 


GCSO catches another meth suspect
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 1, 2022 at 9:12 a.m.
     GILCHRIST COUNTY –
The Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office continues in its ongoing effort to protect life and property as one team with one mission, and a press release send July 31 at 2:30 p.m. from Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz reflects some of the success the GCSO keeps having.

     On July 30, while patrolling the southwest section of Gilchrist County, Deputy D. Marchione conducted a traffic stop on a Ford Mustang for a traffic violation on U.S. Highway 19, Sheriff Schultz noted.
     The driver was identified as Jason Daniel Fogg, 50, of Bell, Sheriff Schultz said. During the traffic stop, a drug investigation ensued with the assistance of GCSO Deputy J. Nettles and GCSO Investigator J. Dyle, resulting in the arrest of Fogg for possession of a controlled substance, Schultz said.
     Fogg has two previous felony drug convictions, the sheriff added, as well as one misdemeanor drug conviction, and one misdemeanor traffic violation conviction.
     As a result of the July 30 arrest, the sheriff noted, Fogg’s charges are possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), with bond set at $2,500; and possession of drug paraphernalia, with bond set at $2,500.

 


Fugitive escapes arrest for 20 years
Caught in New Mexico,
convict is coming to Florida soon

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 29, 2022 at 3:12 p.m.
     TALLAHASSEE –
A week ago on July 22, Marty R. West, the deputy commander of the United States Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force, is noted to have first announced the arrest in New Mexico of a fugitive from Florida who was convicted in 1999 for sex crimes against a child in Gilchrist County that the convicted offender committed in 1995, according to a press release sent on July 29.

     Michael Jeffery McCaskey was charged with failure to register as a sex offender and violation of probation (VOP), West said.
     McCaskey’s original conviction was for lewd and lascivious child molestation, West said. 
     McCaskey was being sought by the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) for failure to register as a sex offender as well as being sought by the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) for VOP on the conviction for child molestation, West said.
     The United States Marshals Florida Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force (FCRFTF) announced on July 22 the arrest of McCaskey, West said.
     In 1995, McCaskey was arrested by the GCSO on multiple charges of lewd/lascivious child molestation and sexual activity with a child 12 to 16 years of age, West said.
     McCaskey pled guilty to three counts in May 1999 and was sentenced to four years custody in the FDOC to be followed by six years of supervised release, West said.
     McCaskey was required to register as a sex offender after release from FDOC and he moved back home to Hillsborough County, West said. In December of 2002 McCaskey fled his residence in Riverview. He disappeared for the next 20 years despite multiple local, state and federal agencies searching for him, West said.
     In June of 2021, the United States Marshals FCRFTF Gainesville Division picked up the search for McCaskey, West said, and during the past year the investigators spent untold hours reviewing cold case leads in an effort to locate McCaskey.
     This meticulous investigation uncovered a previously unknown woman residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, West said, with whom McCaskey was said to have fathered a child.
     Investigative leads were sent to the United States Marshals Southwest Investigative Team (SWIFT) whose members conducted surveillance on the residence for several weeks.
     On July 21, after spotting McCaskey, United States Marshals surrounded the home and McCaskey was arrested without incident, ending a run of over 20 years as a fugitive from justice, West said.
      McCaskey is currently being held in a New Mexico jail awaiting extradition back to Florida, where he faces an additional 15 years in state custody. A federal investigation into McCaskey’s failure to register as a sex offender is also currently under way by the United States Marshals who are charged with investigating violations of the Adam Walsh Act, West said
     This investigation and apprehension would not have been possible without the coordinated efforts of the GCSO, the Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the FDOC, United States Marshals FCRFTF, United States Marshals Service - Tampa, and the United States Marshals Service - Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force Deputy Commander West said.

    


Levy County man arrested
for possession
of child sexual abuse material

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 28, 2022 at 5:12 p.m.
     GILCHRIST COUNTY –
A 32-year-old Levy County man was arrested today (Thursday, July 28) on 13 counts of possession of child sexual abuse material, according to information in a press release from Dana Kelly of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Office of Public Information.
     FDLE agents and officers from the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) and the Levy County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) today arrested Christopher Ryan Andrews, 32, of Trenton, on 13 counts of possession of child sexual abuse material, Kelly said.
     While Andrews has a Trenton address, he lives in the Levy County. 
     The case began on Jan. 10, Kelly said, when the FDLE received information that an online address was being used to share files depicting the sexual abuse of children, some as young as 2 years old.   
     Today, simultaneous to his arrest, FDLE and LCSO investigators also executed a search warrant of Andrews’ residence in Levy County, and they seized potential evidence, Kelly added.
     Andrews was booked into the Gilchrist County Jail on a $325,000 bond, Kelly said. He is in the Gilchrist County Jail because he was arrested in Gilchrist County, and his first appearance will be in Gilchrist County. The suspect will be transported to the Levy County Jail unless he is released on bond, because the crime scene is in Levy County.
     The case will be prosecuted by the Office of Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brian Kramer.
     The Eighth Judicial Circuit includes Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union counties.
     Please visit the FDLE website to review tips for keeping your children safe online by clicking HERE.

 


Judge grants motion
leading to dismissal of murder charge

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 27, 2022 at 7:12 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY –
A man who was 38 when he was arrested in June of 2020 for first degree murder, and who is now 40 years old, had the murder charge dismissed, according to a Feb. 8, 2022, order by Dixie County Judge Jennifer Johnson.
     Gary Stanton Land Jr., 40, of Old Town was arrested June 4. 2020, on one count of first degree murder, according to information provided in a press release on June 8, 2020, by then Dixie County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Scott Harden.
     After that, the charge was reduced to second degree murder, according to court records, and as noted, it was eventually dismissed.
     The court action leading to Dixie County Court Judge Johnson, who was acting as the Third Judicial Circuit court judge in Dixie County in February of this year, showed Third Judicial Circuit Assistant State Attorney Chase Earl Larsen was the prosecutor for this case and private attorney Christopher James Anderson of Neptune Beach (Duval County) was the court-appointed defense attorney for Land, according to records.
     Defense attorney Anderson successfully sought dismissal of the murder charge on a “Stand Your Ground” motion, according to records, and Judge Johnson granted the motion earlier this year, as noted.
     Evidence leading to the accusation against Land showed there was enough to accuse Land of murder, but testimony from the two remaining witnesses showed a different picture than the first one painted on the night of the fatal shooting.
     The following story shows how the State of Florida found reason to prosecute Land and then this story will show how the whole story unfolded to reflect the reason that Dixie County Judge Johnson, acting as a circuit court judge, ruled in favor of the defense’s motion to dismiss the charge.

THE PROSECUTION
     On June 4, 2020, at approximately 9:10 p.m. Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Special Agent R. Bunton responded to 2286 S.E. 317 Highway in Old Town, in reference to a homicide, according to Agent Bunton’s probable cause affidavit for arresting Land.
     The alleged murder victim was identified as Richard Kincaid, according to records.
     Witnesses were identified as Christina Bays and Vanessa Simpson, according to records.
     FDLE Special Agent Tori St. John conducted interviews of both of those witnesses, according to records.
     Simpson, the live-in girlfriend of Land, the arrest affidavit from 2020 noted, told the FDLE that the victim Kincaid and Bays had arrived at the residence on the evening of June 4, 2020. 
     According to what Simpson told investigators on the scene of the fatal shooting, Kincaid and Bays knocked on the door and Simpson answered.
     Simpson told Land about the arrival of the two at the door and Land said to let them inside the residence, according to the narrative of the probable cause affidavit.
     Simpson told the investigating agents that Land and Kincaid have been friends for some time, and they were very familiar with each other.
     Simpson stated that she told Land she did not want them (Kincaid and Bays) at the residence because she believed they were thieves and they may steal from him, the FDLE reported. 
     Simpson stated Kincaid began to argue with her about her attitude toward Kincaid and Bays, which led to a verbal argument between Kincaid and Land, the narrative of the document used as evidence to charge Land with murder noted.
     Simpson said Land told Kincaid not to speak to Simpson negatively and at some point, Land pulled a handgun from the couch where he was seated and he confronted Kincaid with the firearm, the probable cause affidavit noted.
     Kincaid saw the handgun and stated he was not afraid of Land or the gun, according to Simpson’s recounting of the moments leading to the death of Kincaid.
      Simpson stated that Land then fired the weapon at Kincaid, striking him as he stood in the living room area. Simpson said she then ran out of the residence because she did not know if Land would shoot her also, it was noted in the affidavit.
     An interview with Bays was conducted by the FDLE, too.
     Bays said she was the girlfriend of Kincaid and she had just recently bonded Kincaid out of jail in Columbia County, the affidavit noted.
      Bays stated she and Kincaid traveled to Land’s residence on the evening of June 4, 2020. According to Bays, Kincaid and Land were good friends and had known each other for some time, the affidavit noted.
     Bays advised she and Kincaid had travelled to Land’s house in order to purchase drugs from Land, the affidavit noted.
     Bays said they knocked on the sliding glass door of Land’s residence and were let in by Simpson, the affidavit noted. Bays stated Land was in the living room area, the affidavit noted.
     Bays stated Kincaid and Simpson began arguing with each other. Bays further advised she believed Kincaid and Simpson had a sexual relationship prior to Kincaid being arrested in Columbia County, the affidavit noted.
     Bays stated she believed that is part of the reason why Kincaid and Simpson were arguing with one another, the affidavit noted. According to Bays, Simpson and Kincaid had been having an affair behind her (Bays’) and Land’s backs, the affidavit noted.
     Bays stated that while Simpson and Kincaid were arguing, Land pulled a handgun out and displayed it.
     According to Bays, Kincaid asked Land if he (Kincaid) was supposed to be afraid of his little gun. Bays stated Land then “squared” the gun up with both hands toward Kincaid and fired one time, the affidavit noted.
     Bays stated Kincaid was struck by the bullet, and she then ran out of the residence because she was in fear. Bays stated she ran and hid under a boat which was in the yard of Land’s residence, the affidavit noted.
     Both witnesses stated Kincaid never had a weapon, nor threatened to have any kind of weapon before Land pulled his gun and fired, the affidavit noted.
     Bays and Simpson both stated Land never once asked or told Kincaid and Bays to leave the residence during the argument. Simpson and Bays both advised Kincaid never physically touched Land during the argument and never physically threatened Simpson, the affidavit noted.
     The deceased victim (Kincaid) was discovered seated on the floor, leaning against the wall with his car keys still present in his hand, the affidavit noted.
     Based upon the witnesses’ statements, Land was arrested and transported to the Dixie County Jail, the affidavit noted.
     Eventually, the motion to dismiss was filed by attorney Anderson.

REASON FOR DISMISSAL
     The 19-page motion to dismiss filed Nov. 5, 2021, and the subsequent ruling by Judge Johnson recorded with the Dixie County Clerk’s Office on Feb. 8, 2022, shows a different version of what happened in contrast with the probable cause affidavit filed by law enforcement.
     The motion notes that Land is charge with second degree murder, possession of marijuana, possession of pipes for smoking marijuana, resisting arrest and battery of law enforcement officers.
     Facts related to Kincaid and Bays arriving at the residence on June 4, 2020, are similar to what the FDLE noted.
     The motion notes that the only persons present during this fatal shooting were the victim Kincaid, his girlfriend Bays, defendant Land and his girlfriend Simpson. Only Bays and Simpson were not parties to the shooting, the defense attorney notes in his motion.
     Anderson notes that there is immunity for Land from prosecution of as a result of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
     Attorney Anderson noted that defendant Land had no duty to retreat from Kincaid and Land had the right to remain and stand his ground and use deadly force against Kincaid, and is immune from prosecution because three requirements were met.
     First, Anderson said, defendant Land reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself, or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.
     Second, defendant Land was in a place where he had a right to be.
     Third, defendant Land was not engaged in criminal activity.
     Using sworn testimony given by the two women, attorney Anderson showed Judge Johnson the three requirements had been met.
     Those depositions showed that when Kincaid overhead Simpson tell Land that she did not want Simpson or Bays in the house because she felt they might steal from Land, “… Richard Kincaid called Ms. Simpson a ‘stupid bitch.’”
     That led Land to tell Kincaid to calm down and not speak to Simpson like that, according to depositions. Then Kincaid is said to have replied “Well, what the f*** are you going to do about it?” according to information in the motion to dismiss.
     Land told Simpson that he had a gun.
     A different point here in the depositions in contrast with the FDLE report of what those witnesses said on the night of the shooting is that Land then told Kincaid to leave Land’s house.
     “I’m not leaving,” Kincaid is reported to have said.
     “If you don’t leave my house,” Land is reported to have said, “I’m going to shoot you.”
     While Kincaid never indicated that he had a gun of his own, testimony showed, and Kincaid never “faked” possession of any kind of weapon, “… he was acting like he was going to jump on Gary (Defendant Land) or on me (Ms. Simpson),” according to the information in the motion to dismiss the charges.
     Kincaid was showing himself to be aggressive.
     “Like he was pointing at Gary (Defendant Land) and was like, you know what I mean, ‘I’ll beat your ass,’ like pretty much saying he (Kincaid) wasn’t scared of him (Defendant Land).”
     Testimony given in depositions shows Kincaid was ready to fight Land, according to information in the motion to dismiss.
     In the new information shown in the motion to dismiss, Kincaid was reported to be kind of high stepping toward Land, “… like he was fixing to jump on him.”
     And the deposed testimony showed that Land jumped off the couch and backed up a couple of feet before fatally shooting Kincaid once in the chest.
     “At no point before getting fatally shot,” the motion shows, “did Kincaid start to back off or retreat. He ‘wasn’t scared at all.’”
     Simpson said she is certain Land shot in self-defense. Both women said they did not “egg on” anyone or otherwise enflame the situation, according to information in the motion to dismiss.
     Simpson said Kincaid was “a lot bigger” than Land, according to records, adding reason to understand the level of fear Land is reported to have had at that moment.
     In her deposition, Bays indicated that Land was known to have a gun and to exhibit it.
     “Ms. Bays said Richard Kincaid did not step back or retreat ‘Because it was common for Gary (Defendant Land) to pull a gun,’ and ‘… he was always pulling it out …. He always pulled it out and waved it around. He’s even fired it a few times,’” the motion to dismiss showed as it recited some of the deposed testimony of Bays.
     This incident, however, was different, according to the information in the motion to dismiss.
     “However, Ms. Bays admitted that just before the gun was fired, Defendant Land had pointed it directly at Richard Kincaid in a way that Defendant Land had never done before. (p. 39)”
     While Kincaid and Bays reportedly had purchased illegal drugs from Land before, in her deposition Bays said that no drug deal had been completed the day of the shooting, and that those present had not even had a chance to talk about drugs before the shooting occurred.
     The motion to dismiss the case included that Gary Land Sr., the father of the defendant, was in the home at the same time, but that he was upstairs. He heard the “pop” of the gun and went downstairs, where he viewed the deceased Kincaid in the home.
     By the offensive language and aggressive movements by Kincaid, attorney Anderson noted, and the subsequent demand for Kincaid to leave and the warning that Gary Land Jr. was armed with a pistol, the burden of proof was met to show the defendant feared great bodily harm would befall him if not for firing the fatal shot.
     “Predictably, the deposition testimony of Christina Bays, the decedent Kincaid’s fiancée, was somewhat different (than Simpson’s),” Anderson noted on page 14 of the 19-page motion. “However, her (Bays’) testimony indicates that Kincaid became confrontational and menacing very shortly after entering Defendant Land’s Home with Ms. Bays.”
     Further in his motion to dismiss on the grounds of “stand your ground,” attorney Anderson noted the second requirement of the law was met. The defendant was in a place had had a right to be – in his residence, where he lived with his father.
     With the defense having proved it met the burdens of the Florida law for the “stand your ground defense,” and given the state’s inability to overcome that defense with facts and evidence, the judge ruled in favor of the defense.

 


Meth Suspect Jailed
meth suspect

 

 

 


Jack O. Lee
 

 


For the third time in a week, and just two weeks after her completion of The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office new deputy Field Training Program, Deputy K. Gent removed dangerous, illegal drugs from the streets of Gilchrist County. While patrolling the Fanning Springs/Wilcox area, Dep. Gent conducted a traffic stop for a traffic violation on U.S. Highway 19. During the traffic stop, a drug investigation was initiated with the assistance of GCSO Deputy D. Marchione. The result was the arrest of Jack O. Lee, 52, of Dixie County. The charges and bonds set for Lee are possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), bond $15,000; possession of drug equipment, bond $2,500; and driving while license suspended or revoked, bond $2,500.
Information and Photo Provided By Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz.

Published July 27, 2022 at 7:12 p.m.

 

 

 


Sexual predator
arrested for sexual battery
Sexual Predator

Todd Raymond Geller
Mug Shot By CCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 26, 2022 at 10:12 a.m.
     CITRUS COUNTY –
A 49-year-old convicted sexual predator who was released from prison in 2019 is suspected of having committed sexual battery upon a victim younger than 18 years old again, according to information in a July 25 press release from Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Community Relations Specialist Linda Linthicum.
     On July 15, Todd Raymond Geller, 49, of Crystal River was arrested for sexual battery on a person younger than 18 years old, unlawful sexual activity with certain minors, and failing to report changes as a sexual predator, Linthicum said.
     Geller has been a registered sexual predator in the state of Florida since 2019, she noted.
     In fact, Linthicum said, Geller was on supervised conditional release at the time of his most recent arrest, after having served 20 years in prison for a similar offense.
     On July 12, the CCSO was contacted in reference to a juvenile receiving sexually explicit social media messages from Geller, Linthicum said. Responding deputies were provided evidence supporting these allegations. Detective Mike Mission with the CCSO Special Victims Unit (SVU) was assigned to the case and began his investigation, Linthicum said.
     Detective Mission interviewed the juvenile victim who disclosed sexual activity with Geller that began shortly after his release from prison in 2019, Linthicum said. Detective Mission corroborated the victims' statements along with other evidence to establish enough probable cause for his arrest Linthicum said. 
     Geller was contacted at the Florida Department of Corrections Parole and Probation Office in Inverness, where he was arrested.
     "Geller had been incarcerated for over two decades for sexual battery upon a minor. Almost immediately upon his release, he chose to re-offend again," Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said. "He is a sexual predator in the truest sense of the word and has shown he is beyond rehabilitation. Predators like Geller are why the detectives of the Special Victims Unit are essential to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office and our mission to keep this community safe. We will continue working in partnership with the State Attorney's Office to ensure Geller will never terrorize another child."
     Geller is being held at the Citrus County Jail without bond, according to records.

 


Troopers arrest suspected felon
after high-speed chase

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 25, 2022 at 8:12 p.m.
     GILCHRIST COUNTY –
Five Florida Highway Patrol troopers were involved in action leading to the arrest of a young man who fled from law enforcement at dangerous speeds on Thursday (April 21), according to records.
      Gregory Joseph Starr, 19, of Gilchrist County was booked for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer; willful and wanton reckless driving; fleeing with disregard of safety of persons or property; carrying a concealed weapon; possession of drugs without a prescription; misdemeanor possession of marijuana; and possession of paraphernalia, according to records from the FHP and the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office.
     Combined bonds on those felonious and misdemeanor charges filed against Starr totaled more than one million dollars – specifically, $1,150,020, according to Gilchrist County Jail records.
     In the six-page arrest report filed by FHP Trooper Jake Adams, he was in response to assist FHP Trooper R. Salter who was in pursuit of a blue Ford pickup truck that was fleeing in an attempt to elude capture by law enforcement.
     Trooper Salter was westbound on State Road 26 in Alachua County entering Gilchrist County that Thursday, Trooper Adams noted. Trooper Adams joined the pursuit at Gilchrist County Road 337 and Southeast 40th Street, he said, and he took the lead position in the pursuit.
     Trooper Adams noted he was in a marked FHP unit with the emergency lights and siren activated. The driver of the Ford pickup truck failed to stop, Adams said. That driver reached speeds in excess of 100 mph, and he showed no regard for the safety of others as he ran vehicles off the road and endangered people.
     As they approached the intersection of Gilchrist County Road 337 and CR 232, the trooper attempted at PIT maneuver, he noted. The suspect was able to continue to flee, the trooper noted.
     The troopers continued chasing the truck onto CR 232 going toward State Road 47, where they went southbound until the suspect vehicle turned left onto Southeast 17th Trail, Trooper Adams noted.
     At this point, Trooper Adams was third with FHP Trooper Greg Ganus and Trooper Salter in front of him. The pursuit continued from Southeast 45th Avenue to Southeast 41st Way, to 37th Trail and onward to 37th Avenue, where Trooper Ganus attempted a PIT maneuver, but the suspect continued to flee, Trooper Adams wrote.
     Then, Trooper Adams wrote in his arrest report, the suspect ran Trooper Salter off the road, causing that FHP vehicle to crash into a fence, and Trooper Salter suffered injuries.
     The suspect turned around and went back to Southeast 37th Trail, FHP Trooper Adams reported. The pickup truck was out of control and was fishtailing, Adams noted. The front of Trooper Adams’ patrol car and the rear of the suspect’s vehicle hit each other, the trooper noted, and the pickup truck stopped.
     Troopers Ganus and Adams removed the man from the truck and Adams secured the suspected felon in handcuffs, according to records. Starr was the only person in the pickup truck, the trooper noted.
     Starr had a loaded, concealed Kimber .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol in his right, front pocket, Trooper Adams reported. Starr does not have a conceal carry permit, according to records.
     It was confirmed by the trooper that Starr had been put on habitual traffic offender status a of Jan. 7.
     FHP Trooper D.M. Morgan found two plastic bags with a white powder that tested positive for methamphetamine, as well as 13 grams (almost one-half ounce) of marijuana, a marijuana grinder and a metal trail with marijuana residue on it inside the truck, Trooper Adams reported.
     Gilchrist County EMS arrived and took Starr and FHP Trooper Joshua Wilson to Shands UF for treatment of injuries sustained as a result of the reckless driving by Starr, Adams reported.
     After being cleared from Shands UF, Starr was taken to the Gilchrist County Jail.

 


 


Convicted attorney
set for sentencing Oct. 12
O’Steen wants a new trial

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 25, 2022 at 9:12 a.m.
     JACKSONVILLE –
Attorney M. Michael O’Steen and former Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jeffrey Siegmeister are scheduled for sentencing Oct. 12, according to information from the United States Middle District of Florida Court.
     As noted in a press release from United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg last month, a federal jury found O’Steen, 43, of Cross City guilty of interfering with commerce by extortion and failing to timely file a Form 8300 reporting the receipt of more than $10,000 in currency.
     O’Steen faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in federal prison and the soon-to-be former attorney may be required to forfeit at least $60,000 in proceeds received, according to federal law.
     Siegmeister was previously charged and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use a facility of commerce for unlawful activity, conspiracy to commit extortion, wire fraud and tax fraud, United States Attorney Handberg has noted. The former state attorney is looking at a maximum of up to 40 years in federal prison.
     It is not anticipated by court watchers, though, that either man will receive maximum penalties.
     These alleged violations of federal laws against Siegmeister and O’Steen were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. As noted, it was through federal jury trials that these two men were convicted of violating certain federal laws.
     These cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kelly S. Karase and David B. Mesrobian, and others over time as the cases went through months of processes, including a point where speedy trial issues were dealt with by the Court, according to records.
     While O’Steen is convicted now, the Florida Supreme Court ruled to give him a 30-day reprieve from the suspension of his license to practice law in Florida, as O’Steen wraps up legal matters that are in process now. The Florida Supreme Court noted, however, that any appeal by O’Steen will not stop that 30-day clock for his taking care of business, and the attorney may not accept any new cases, according to records.
     Meanwhile, in a recently filed motion in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, O'Steen's attorneys filed for a new trial.
     Through his legal representatives, O’Steen is noting his opinion for the court that a new trial is merited due to allegedly prejudicial statements from Siegmeister made related to the O'Steen case, where the former state attorney used such as the words "clannish" and "good old boys" in his testimony. O’Steen’s seeking of a new trial notes other issues from the trial in which the jury ruled that the federal government proved its cases beyond and to the exclusion of reasonable doubt, according to records.
     While O'Steen was convicted of one federal felony and one federal misdemeanor, the jury acquitted him from two other federal felony charges of conspiring with the former state attorney, according to records.

 


GCSO busts two for ‘Molly’
evidence
This is a picture of evidence taken from the scene to prove the suspects possessed an illegal drug and paraphernalia.

Photo By GCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 24, 2022 at 9:12 a.m.
     GILCHRIST COUNTY –
Two members of the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office team of law enforcement professionals arrested a man and woman suspected of possessing an illegal drug and paraphernalia, according to information in a press release from Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert D. “Bobby” Schultz III.


Suspected Drug Possessing People
Jennifer A. Ellis and Daniel A. Gagnon are suspected of having possessed an illegal drug and paraphernalia on July 21, according to records. Their mugshots are seen above.
Photos By GCSO

     On July 21, while patrolling the southeast section of Gilchrist County, GCSO Deputy K. Gent with the assistance of GCSO Cpl. B. Langford, conducted a traffic stop on State Road 26 on a green passenger car for an equipment violation, Sheriff Schultz noted in a July 23 press release.
     As a result of the traffic stop, an investigation related to drugs ensued, which resulted in the arrest of both the driver Daniel A. Gagnon, 32, of Gainesville, and passenger Jennifer A. Ellis, 43, of Trenton, Sheriff Schultz said.
     Ellis was charged with possession of the controlled substance methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, commonly known as "Molly," Schultz said. Bond for that charge was set at $10,000. Ellis was charged with possession of a controlled substance. Bond was set at $10,000. Ellis was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond was set at $2,500. Combined bonds for this suspected felon were set at $22,500, Schultz said.
     Gagnon was charged with possession of the controlled substance methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. Bond was set at $10,000. Ellis was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond was set at $2,500. Combined bonds for this suspected felon were set at $12,500, Schultz said.
     3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, which is spelled with the hyphenation “methylenedioxy-methamphetamine,” too, is also known as MDMA. It is commonly seen in tablet form (ecstasy) and crystal form (Molly or Mandy), according to literature on various drugs.
     Sheriff Schultz and the GCSO is known for its slogan of “One Team. One Mission.”
     Florida Statutes show that MDMA is a Schedule I controlled substance in Florida, which is illegal to possess in any quantity. Possessing up to 10 grams of MDMA is a third degree felony.
     Conviction of this felony for the first time is punishable for a maximum sentence of up to
     * Five Years In Prison;
     * Five Years Of Probation;
     * A $5,000 fine; and
     * A Six-Month Driver’s License Suspension.

     Beyond the potential loss of personal freedom, even if the law enforcement agents do not stop people who possess and use this drug, there are health hazards from its use.
     This drug (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a potent central nervous system stimulant primarily used for recreational purposes nowadays, according to reliable sources.
     The desired effects include altered sensations, increased energy, empathy and pleasure. When taken by mouth, effects begin in 30 to 45 minutes and last three to six hours, according to literature on drugs.
     MDMA was first developed in 1912 by the pharmaceutical company named Merck. It was used to enhance psychotherapy beginning in the 1970s and became popular as a street drug in the 1980s, according to literature on drugs.
     Adulterants found in drugs, such as MDMA, when at-home chemists make it, can be deadly, according to medical professionals. 
     While some people think ecstasy is a safe drug, the illegal stimulant has a number of toxic and potentially life-threatening side effects, according to drug rehabilitation and medical professionals.
     Among the most common causes of MDMA-related deaths is heatstroke. People using Molly also have died from brain swelling, acute liver failure, strokes, sudden heart failure, abnormal bleeding and seizures, according to information on DrugRehab.com.

 


 

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