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Man dies in Dixie County crash
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 28, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY –
A 58-year-old Steinhatchee (Taylor County) man died in a single-vehicle crash Friday evening (Nov. 27) in Dixie County, according to information in a Florida Highway Patrol press release.
     The man was driving a silver-colored Chevrolet pickup truck northbound on Dixie County Road 358 (Southwest 358 Highway), FHP Cpl. Aaron Brannon noted. Brannon is the crash investigator and homicide investigator leading this investigation, the FHP noted. The crash happened at 7:40 p.m. on Nov. 27, the FHP said.
     For reasons that remain under investigation, the FHP said, the pickup truck exited from the western shoulder, overcorrected, and then exited the east shoulder prior to colliding with a guardrail.
     The pickup truck overturned while exiting from the eastern shoulder, the FHP said.
     During the rollover events, the driver who was not wearing a seatbelt was ejected from the pickup truck, the FHP said. The driver was pronounced dead on the scene by Dixie County Emergency Services EMS personnel, the FHP said. This is an ongoing traffic homicide investigation, the FHP said.
     As of May of 2020, the Florida Highway Patrol stopped providing names of people, involved in crashes as part of its press releases.
     The FHP formerly provided those public records in its press releases.
     The FHP and other law enforcement agencies in Florida are abiding by a version of something known as “Marcy’s Law” allegedly 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.
     Each year, more public records become excluded from public view in Florida.
     The Florida interpretation of Marsy’s Law deprives the public of information that long had been made available under Florida’s open public records law.
     Although not every vehicle crash involves crime victims, which appears to have been the legislative intent of the law approved by voters, the FHP adopted the blanket exclusion of some information as part of its process in sending press releases.
Crash Report Purchasing
https://services.flhsmv.gov/CrashReportPurchasing/
Florida Crash Data
https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/

 


High Visibility Enforcement
to improve
pedestrian and bicycle safety

By MCSO Public Information Officer Valerie Strong
Published Nov. 23, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
     MARION COUNTY –
With many traffic crashes resulting in serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) will conduct High Visibility Enforcement Details (HVE) during the period of Dec. 1, 2020 through May 14, 2021.
     MCSO Traffic Unit deputies will conduct HVE details in six different areas in Marion County. These areas have seen an increase in traffic crashes resulting in serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.
     1. South Pine Avenue from Southeast 19th Street to Southwest 22nd Place
     2. East Silver Springs Boulevard from Northeast 14th Street to Northeast 55th Avenue
     3. U.S. Highway 441 from south of Southeast 80th Street to Southeast 62nd Street
     4. Southeast Sunset Harbor Rd from U.S. Highway 27 to Southeast 97th Court
     5. East State Road 40 from Southeast 172nd Terrace to Southeast 183rd Avenue
     6. South U.S. Highway 441 from Southeast 178th Place to Southeast 104th Terrace
     HVE details are funded through a contract with the University of North Florida in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation’s focused initiative to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety.
     Deputies will be concentrating more on educating the public about traffic laws during this enforcement to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. However, violations may result in warnings or citations depending on the circumstances.
     The MCSO Traffic Unit wants individuals to remember several things while they are on the roadways: Drivers - obey speed limits; never drive impaired; and always watch for pedestrians and bicyclists, obey traffic laws, ride in the direction of traffic and use lights when riding at night. Pedestrians - cross in crosswalks or at intersections; obey pedestrian signals and make sure you are visible to drivers when walking at night.

 


FDACS issues $345,000 fine
against company violating
Florida ‘Do Not Call’ list

By FDACS Office Of Communications
Sent Nov. 20, 2020 at 4:35 p.m.
Published Nov. 22, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     TALLAHSSEE —
Last week (Nov. 15-21), the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried issued an administrative complaint against a West Palm Beach-based company conducting unsolicited telephone sales calls to consumers on the “Florida Do Not Call” list.
     The administrative complaint against Turnkey Auto Group Inc. and Fidelity Mutual Life Inc. includes an administrative fine of $345,000 for 171 alleged violations. The complaints and fines were announced during International Fraud Awareness Week 2020 (Nov. 15-21), a global effort to minimize the impact of fraudulent activity.
     “Businesses allegedly conducting unsolicited calls in disregard of the ‘Florida Do Not Call’ list aren’t just violating consumer trust, they’re violating the law,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried. “As the state agency responsible for consumer complaints, our Department will continue to investigate all potential violations of the ‘Florida Do Not Call’ list to hold bad actors accountable for their actions.”
     The FDACS actions follow an investigation into 69 consumer complaints submitted to the Department between Sept. 11, 2019 and March 23, 2020 against Fidelity Mutual Life Inc. and Turnkey Auto Group Inc.
     The complaints claimed that the entity was conducting non-solicited telemarketing calls to market auto warranties directly to consumers, including Florida residents. As a result of the investigation, FDACS determined that Turnkey Auto Group, Inc. had indeed made unsolicited telephonic calls to telephone numbers on the Department’s “Florida Do Not Call” list. Per state law, the Department may impose an administrative fine for each call that violated the “Florida Do Not Call” list and therefore intends to issue an administrative fine of $345,000.
     The alleged violations are as follows:
     Sixty-six violations of Florida Statute 501.059(2), which provides “any telephone solicitor who makes an unsolicited telephonic sales call to a residential, mobile, or telephonic paging device telephone number shall identify himself or herself by his or her true first and last names and the business on whose behalf he or she is soliciting immediately upon making contact by telephone with the person who is the object of the telephone solicitation.”
     Sixty-eight violations of Florida Statute 501.059(4), which provides that “no telephone solicitor shall make or cause to be made any unsolicited sales call to any residential, mobile, or telephonic paging device telephone number if the number for that telephone appears in the then-current quarterly listing published by the department.”
     Thirty-seven violations of Florida Statute 501.059(8)(a), which provides that “no person shall make or knowingly allow a telephonic sales call to be made if such call involves an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers or the playing of a recorded message when a connection is completed to a number called.”
     Turnkey Auto Group Inc. has 21 days to request an Administrative Hearing; after a hearing or a failure to request one by the organization, FDACS may enter a Final Order to impose penalties as provided by law.
     FDACS is Florida’s state consumer protection agency, responsible for regulating charities and handling consumer complaints. FDACS annually handles more than 400,000 consumer complaints and inquiries, oversees more than 500,000 regulated devices, entities, and products like gas pumps and grocery scales, performs more than 61,000 lab analyses on products like gasoline and brake fluid, performs nearly 9,000 fair ride inspections, and returned in excess of $2.8 million to consumers through mediations with businesses.
     If consumers have concerns or questions about charities or consumer issues, they can file a complaint or find answers by clicking HERE.
Consumer Resources / Home - Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (fdacs.gov) or by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA or 1-800-FL-AYUDA en Español.
     The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) maintains the state-specific Do Not Call list for residents who do not want to receive solicitations through their telephone. It is free to subscribe and the number remains on the list indefinitely.
     FDACS is responsible for licensing businesses and salespersons who solicit potential customers through telemarketing. FDACS categorizes Do Not Call and telemarketing complaints as “unsolicited communications.” This is the top category of complaints received from consumers with FDACS, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

 


Two busted for meth after
allegedly riding a motorized
vehicle on the Nature Coast Trail

William Osteen and Stacy Bolesta of Dixie County suspected meth possessors
William N. Osteen, 44, of Cross City, and Stacy E. Bolesta
Mug Shots By DCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 21, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
A man and woman who failed to abide by Florida State Park rules became short-term residents at the Dixie County Jail very early Friday morning (Nov. 20), according to infomation provided by Dixie County Sheriff's Office Maj. Scott Harden.
     William N. Osteen, 44, of Cross City, and Stacy E. Bolesta, 42, of Old Town were each arrested for possession of methamphetamine, Harden said,
     Additionally, Osteen was arrested for tampering with physical evidence and Bolesta was arrested for possession of drug equipment, Harden said.
     Shortly after midnight on the morning of Nov. 20, a deputy with the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office saw someone operating a four-wheeler on the Nature Coast Trail just outside of Cross City, Harden said.
     The Nature Coast State Trail is a 32-mile long paved multi-use trail that extends from Chiefland, in Levy County,to Cross City in Dixie County. It is part of the Florida Park System.
     It occupies the right-of-way that once was the route for the historic Atlantic Coastline Railroad. The trail connects the towns of Cross City, Trenton, Fanning Springs and Chiefland, with its center point at Wilcox Junction, near Old Town.
     Also known locally in Dixie County as “The Greenway,” this state park has prohibitions against motorized vehicles. Also, it officially closes at sundown, according to park rules.
     The DCSO deputy pulled onto the Greenway to perform a traffic stop, Harden said, because he knew that motorized vehicle should not be there and especially not after dark.
     Once on the Greenway, the deputy could no longer see the four-wheeler but he continued down the Greenway until he found the four-wheeler off the Greenway in the edge of the bushes, Harden said.
     When the deputy approached the four-wheeler, he saw the male driver kneeling by one of the rear tires along with the female passenger, Harden said.
     While attempting to make arrangements with them to have the four-wheeler removed, Harden said, the deputy noticed keys and a small container shoved under the rear tire where the driver was standing.
     Upon searching the container, the deputy found that it contained methamphetamine, Harden said. Osteen and Bolesta were then separated and interviewed, Harden said, and after they were interviewed, the two were arrested as noted above.

 


Dixie County man arrested
for possession of drugs

Cody Wells of Dixie County Florida suspected criminal drug possessor

 

 


Cody Wells
Mug Shot By DCSO

 


By DCSO Maj. Scott Harden
Published Nov. 21, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
On the night of Nov. 18, at approximately 11 p.m., a deputy with the Dixie County Sheriff’s office stopped a car for speeding on U.S. Highway 19.
     During the stop it, the deputy found that the driver, Cody Wells, 30, of Cross City was operating the California registered vehicle with a suspended Florida driver’s license.
     A subsequent search of the vehicle and Wells showed that Wells was in possession of Buprenorphine Hydrochloride and methamphetamine. Wells was found to be possessing syringes as well as a spoon with drug residue.
     Wells was arrested for two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug equipment.

 


Shots fired at state trooper
Suspect captured

By FHP Lt. P.V. Riordan
Published Nov. 20, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
* Updated Nov. 20, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.
     OCALA --
Sometime after 3 p.m. yesterday (Thursday Nov. 19), an FHP trooper was notified of a shooting which had just occurred in downtown Ocala.
     As the suspect vehicle exited a parking garage, the trooper commanded the driver to exit his vehicle. The driver ignored the trooper’s directions and fled the scene at a high rate of speed.
     The trooper began a pursuit of the vehicle described as a silver-colored Nissan sedan.
     During the pursuit, a passenger in the fleeing vehicle shot multiple times at the trooper and his patrol car. The trooper lost contact with the vehicle, which is still at large.
     The trooper was not struck or injured during this
encounter. The initial shooting incident is being investigated by the Ocala Police Department.
Shots Fired at State Trooper

* Suspect captured
David James of Starke Florda suspected criminal

 

 

David James
Mug Shot By ACSO

 

     GAINESVILLE -- A traffic stop by an alert Gainesville Police Officer in east Alachua County has resulted in the arrest of David Le-Otis James, 35, of Starke.
     James was identified as the driver of the 2020 Nissan, involved in the earlier shooting incident in Marion County. James was booked into the
Alachua County Jail, on an outstanding warrant issued in Marion County.
     In addition to charges filed by Ocala Police Department, FHP Investigators have added charges of Aggravated Fleeing & Eluding and Principle to Attempted Murder against David James. Information about the identity and location of the passenger involved is still ongoing. The astute observation of the vehicle sought, and subsequent arrest of David James made by the Gainesville Police Officer(s) was a tremendous help in this ongoing investigation.

 


Three arrested for fraud
regarding security guard
certifications

By Fla. Dept. of Ag. and Consumer Services
Office of Communications
Published Nov. 20, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     TALLAHASSEE –
Yesterday (Thursday, Nov. 19), the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement (OALE) announced three arrests made following an investigation into fraudulent security guard training certificates submitted to FDACS.
     Court dates are scheduled to be set by the Miami-Dade County Court for the three suspects -- Antiliqwa Tyneece Fisher, 26, of Opa-Locka, Christopher Jean-Pierre, 32, of Miami
and Tequila Porter, 43, of Homestead.

     The arrests were announced during International Fraud Awareness Week, a global effort to minimize the impact of fraudulent activity.
     “We place trust in security guards and expect them to be properly trained and credentialed. Individuals violating that trust put public safety at risk and will be held accountable,” said Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. “After a thorough investigation by our Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement investigators, arrests were made of three suspects who submitted fraudulent security guard training certificates to our Division of Licensing, a clear breach of the law and disregard for public trust. I'm thankful for the diligence of our OALE officers and investigators, who work to protect Floridians every day.”


Timeline and background information
     May 13, 2019: OALE opened an investigation after receiving a case referral from the FDACS Division of Licensing. The investigation concerned a suspect, Antiliqwa Tyneece Fisher, submitting a fraudulent security guard training certificate to the FDACS Division of Licensing office in Doral (Miami-Dade County).
     June 19, 2020: OALE opened two investigations after receiving a case referral from the FDACS Division of Licensing. The investigations concerned two suspects, Christopher Jean-Pierre and Tequila Porter, who both submitted a fraudulent security guard training certificate to the FDACS Division of Licensing office in Doral, Florida.
     Nov. 12, 2020: Acting on information obtained during the investigation, OALE investigators located the suspects, Christopher Jean-Pierre and Tequila Porter, and made arrests for knowingly submitting a fraudulent training certificate, criminal use of personal identification information, and making false official statements.
     Nov. 16, 2020: Acting on information obtained during the investigation, OALE law enforcement investigators located the suspect, Antiliqwa Tyneece Fisher. The suspect, upon being contacted and arrested by OALE Law Enforcement Investigators, refused to make any statements. Fisher was arrested for knowingly submitting a fraudulent training certificate, criminal use of personal identification information, and making false official statements.


Suspect-Defendant Information
     Antiliqwa Tyneece Fisher, 26, of Opa-Locka is charged with fraud – knowingly submitting a fraudulent training certificate, a third-degree felony; fraud – criminal use of personal identification information, a third-degree felony; and fraud – knowingly making false official statements, a second-degree misdemeanor.
     Christopher Jean-Pierre, 32, of Miami is charged with fraud – knowingly submitting a fraudulent training certificate, a third-degree felony; criminal use of personal identification information, a third-degree felony; and fraud – knowingly making false official statements, a second-degree misdemeanor.
     Tequila Porter, 43, of Homestead is charged with fraud – knowingly submitting a fraudulent training certificate, a third-degree felony; fraud – criminal use of personal identification information, a third-degree felony; and knowingly making false official statements, a second-degree misdemeanor.

 


Woman arrested
as suspected killer

Murder Suspect Ocala Florida

 

 

 


Neely Petrie-Blanchard
Mug Shot By LCSO

 

 


By Zachary Moore
Public Information Officer
Marion County Sheriff’s Office
Published Nov. 17, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
     MARION COUNTY --
At approximately 7:30 a.m. on Monday (Nov. 16), Neely Petrie-Blanchard, 33 (a few days shy of turning 34), was arrested for the Nov. 15 homicide of Christopher Hallett, 50, in Marion County.
     The Lowndes County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) arrested Petrie-Blanchard on behalf of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).
     On Sunday (Nov. 15), the MCSO responded to 16062 S.W. 34th Court Road (east of Marion Oaks Country Club) after a report of a shooting that had just occurred. Upon arrival, deputies found Hallett had suffered many gunshot wounds and was dead.
     Neely Petrie-Blanchard was the person who had shot Hallett, according to eyewitnesses, because she believed he was unable to help her regain custody of her children.
     MCSO Major Crimes Det. John Lightle gathered more information from the eyewitnesses and generated a photo lineup. Petrie-Blanchard was identified as the person who shot Hallett.
     Petrie-Blanchard had fled the scene, and a nationwide Be On the Lookout (BOLO) message was issued for her vehicle.
     The BOLO was received by an LCSO deputy, found Petrie-Blanchard and transported her to the Lowndes County Jail on a hold for MCSO.
     This homicide investigation continues. Petrie-Blanchard is currently being housed at the Lowndes County Jail in Valdosta, Georgia, awaiting extradition to Marion County.

 


18-year-old man
arrested for Floral City shooting

By Brittney Carman
CCSO Community Relations Specialist
Published Nov. 7, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.
     CITRUS COUNTY --
On Thursday (Nov. 5), Detective Dan Slingerland with the Citrus County Sheriff's Office's (CCSO) Major Crimes Unit arrested 18-year-old Vincent Irvin of Floral City after an investigation into a shooting that occurred on Oct. 28.
     In the early morning hours of Oct. 28, the CCSO was contacted by the Sumter County Sheriff's Office in reference to a shooting that had transpired in Citrus County.
     Sumter County deputies responded to a residence where an adult victim told officials he had been shot in Floral City several hours prior to returning to Sumter County. The victim had an apparent gunshot wound to his arm and holes consistent with gunfire on his vehicle.
     A second victim who was in the vehicle at the time of the incident was nearly struck by the same round but fortunately was not injured.
     Detective Slingerland responded to the area of Orange Avenue and South U.S. Highway 41 and began his investigation into this incident. The victim stated he had been in a parking lot in Floral City at approximately 1 a.m. and gotten into a verbal altercation with a local resident.
     During this argument, the victim said the suspect, later identified as Irvin, pointed a handgun at him. The victim went on to tell deputies that he had then returned to his vehicle and started to leave the area when he was struck in the arm by the bullet.
     Through the course of his investigation, Detective Slingerland was able to develop probable cause for the arrest of Irvin and obtained a search warrant for his residence. On Nov. 5, CCSO personnel with the Major Crimes Unit (MCU) and the Tactical Impact Unit (TIU) took Irvin into custody without incident at his residence. A subsequent search of the residence led to the discovery of property belonging to the victim from the night of the incident, as well as the firearm that had been hidden at a separate location.
     "The deputies and detectives of the CCSO often put in long hours conducting investigations like this in an effort to make Citrus County a safer place to live," Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said. "Irvin showed complete disregard for the laws of this state, and the lives of citizens by utilizing a firearm in such a careless and dangerous manner."
     Irvin was charged with shooting into an occupied vehicle, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He is currently being held at the Citrus County Jail with a bond of $25,000 per his arrest warrant.

 


Stuff the Charger
By FHP Lt. P.V. Riordan
Published Nov. 5, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     LAKE CITY --
The Florida Highway Patrol has launched its annual Stuff The Charger campaign to collect food items for those in need.
     Anyone interested in assisting with this endeavor, which runs from Nov. 1 through Nov. 30 may drop off non-perishable food items at any FHP Station. Listed below are the Troop B locations:

Florida Highway Patrol
1350 W. U.S. Highway 90
Lake City, FL 32055

Florida Highway Patrol
16106 S.E. U.S. Highway 19
Cross City, FL 32628

Florida Highway Patrol
6300 N.W. 13th St.
Gainesville, FL 32653

Florida Highway Patrol
600 S.E. 25th Ave.
Ocala, FL 34471

 


Levy County
landfill worker arrested

Theft is alleged
to be $40,000
over 10 years

Wanda Sue Sheffield suspected of stealing from Levy County over 10 years

 

 

 

Wanda Sue Sheffield
Mug Shot By GCSO

 


By Jeff M. Hardison
© Nov. 4, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
Updated Nov. 4, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.
     BRONSON --
A 57-year-old woman who works at the scale-house of the Levy County Solid Waste Transfer Station (the dump, or the landfill) was arrested today (Wednesday, Oct. 4) for allegedly stealing from the county government, according to information in a press release from Levy County Sheriff's Office Lt. Scott Tummond.
     Wanda Sue Sheffield, 57, of Bell has been charged with grand theft of in excess of $20,000 (a second degree felony), Tummond said, her bond was set at $25,000. Sheffield is currently in the Gilchrist County Jail, according to records.
      She is awaiting transfer to the Levy County Detention Facility (jail) after her first appearance before a judge.
     The Levy County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division arrested Sheffield after a lengthy investigation, Tummond said, that started more than a year ago.
     In September of 2019, Jared Blanton, MBA, CPA, Finance Officer and Chief Deputy Clerk for Levy Clerk and Comptroller Danny J. Shipp, was asked by the Levy County Landfill Director to take a detailed look at monies being collected at the landfill.
     Levy County Solid Waste Landfill Operations Director Benny Jerrels and Solid Waste Landfill Operations Administrative Director Rod Hastings are the leaders at the transfer station.
     Blanton alerted the LCSO when he discovered a discrepancy, Tummond said. This was after analysis of years of data was issued to his office from the landfill, Tummond added.
     Detectives worked with county officials and discovered that over a period of approximately 10 years, Sheffield had been voiding scale transactions and using the money collected for personal gains, Tummond said. This detailed and exhaustive summary of transactions was able to prove over this period of time that Sheffield stole nearly $40,000, Tummond said.
     Detectives interviewed Sheffield prior to her arrest, Tummond said, and she admitted to detectives that she had intentionally voided scale transactions for the purpose of taking the money for her personal gain.
     Sheffield had resigned her position at the landfill when supervisory staff first questioned her about voided transactions, Tummond said. She was arrested at her home in Bell and has been transported and booked in at the Gilchrist County Jail.

 


FBI captures Doru Maris
- Nelu Onica still sought

By Amanda Videll, Public Affairs Officer
FBI Jacksonville
Published Nov. 2, 2020 at 7:10 p.m.
     JACKSONVILLE --
In September, FBI Jacksonville announced that Doru Maris was wanted in connection to a large, international skimming case.
     FBI Jacksonville appreciates the coordination of its international law enforcement partners, and will continue to pursue this investigation with their support. No additional details regarding Maris’ capture are being released at this time (Nov. 2, 2020 at .
     According to the previous indictment, between March 2019 and June 2020, the defendants stole debit/credit card information and funds from victims by placing skimmers on ATMs.
     After they removed the skimmers, the defendants downloaded the stolen account numbers and PIN numbers and re-encoded that data onto blank cards, thereby creating counterfeit or unauthorized debit or credit cards.
     The conspirators installed skimming devices and/or conducted these “cash out” operations in Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, and New York. 
     An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
     This case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the United States Secret Service. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julie Hackenberry.
     Meanwhile, FBI Jacksonville continues to seek Nelu Onica, who is also wanted in connection to the case. The FBI appreciates everyone's continued help to assist in locating this other suspect.

 


Woman Suspected Of Meth Possession
Haley Braden of Horseshoe suspected of meth possession  HardisonInk.com


Haley Braden, 33, of Horseshoe is seen above in a mugshot provided by the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office. She was arrested Friday afternoon (Oct. 30), charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, DCSO Maj. Scott Harden noted in a Nov. 2 press release. DCSO dispatch received a call about a female being passed out behind the wheel at the Dollar General of Cross City. A deputy was dispatched due to the business being just across the city boundary. A Cross City Police officer was dispatched to standby until the deputy arrived. When the CCPD officer arrived, he approached the female and verified that she did not need any medical assistance prior to the deputy’s arrival, Harden said. Once the deputy arrived, he questioned the female about her condition and obtained consent to the search the vehicle, Harden said. During the search, officers discovered two baggies of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia commonly used in the ingestion of methamphetamine, Harden said.
Published Nov. 2, 2020 at 7:10 p.m.

 


Georgia man
busted in Dixie County

Brett M. Rowe of Georgia suspected of drug possession

 

 

 


Brett M. Rowe
Mug Shot By DCSO

 

 


By DCSO Maj. Scott Harden
Published Nov. 2, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY --
A late-night traffic stop on U.S. Highway 19 in Dixie County resulted in the arrest of a 30-year-old Warner Robbins, Georgia man on drug charges.
     Brett M. Rowe was arrested and charged with multiple felonies after deputies with the Dixie County Sheriff’s office discovered over 60 grams (two ounces) of marijuana, smoking pipes, THC wax, mushrooms, heroin and methamphetamine.
     Rowe was charged with five counts possession of controlled substances and nine counts of possession of drug equipment.

 



Probationer goes
from probation office to jail

Suspect in Dixie County Florida

 

 


Larry Vonstein
Mug Shot by DCSO

 

 


By Jeff M. Hardison|
Nov. 2, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY –
People who become probationers are given a chance to avoid incarceration if they change their ways.
     Sometimes, those folks fail in their attempt to not violate laws.
    Larry Vonstein went back to the Dixie County Jail last Monday (Oct. 26) because of his becoming a man suspected of violation of probation (VOP), according to information in a recent press release from Dixie County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Scott Harden.
     On the afternoon of Oct. 26, a deputy with the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the Florida Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Office in Old Town.
      There was a subject there reporting for probation who held an active warrant, Maj. Harden said the caller told the DCSO dispatcher.
     When the deputy arrived, he found the subject Vonstein waiting outside, Harden said. Upon contacting Vonstein, the deputy told him there was an active VOP warrant for his arrest, Harden said, and the deputy placed Vonstein in hand restraints.
     The deputy then conducted a search of Vonstein and his property, Harden said, during which he found several syringes, smoking pipes and three baggies of methamphetamine.
     Vonstein was arrested for VOP, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug equipment, Harden said.

 


Alleged speedy chase
end with arrests

Suspected Criminals in Dixie County Florida   HardisonInk.com
Mug Shots By DCSO

By Jeff M, Hardison © Nov. 1, 2020 at 12:10 p.m.
     DIXIE COUNTY –
A man and woman from Old Town were put in the Dixie County Jail last Monday (Oct. 26) after a deputy with the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office found reason to suspect them of crimes, according to information provided in an Oct. 30 press release from DCSO Maj. Scott Harden.
     It was shortly after 6 p.m. on Oct. 26, when a DCSO deputy clocked a vehicle for speeding, Harden said.
     He turned around to follow the vehicle, Maj. Harden continued, and the vehicle maintained its speed before turning onto Southeast 697th Street in Old Town.
     The vehicle continued at a high speed on the posted 45 m.p.h. Southeast 697th Street, before reaching Dixie County Road 55A and turning west, Harden said, when and where it reached speeds of almost 100 m.p.h.
     As the vehicle approached Southeast 557th Street, the deputy saw both the man who was driving and the woman who was a passenger throw objects from each of their windows before turning onto Southeast 557th Street, Harden said.
     After turning onto Southeast 557th Street, the man stopped the vehicle, exited it and started running away, Harden said.
     As he fled, the deputy ordered him to stop before deploying his K-9, Harden said.
     As the K-9 was approaching the man, he surrendered, and the deputy told the K-9 to not stop the suspect through the methods that K-9s use to stop people, Harden said.
     At this time, the deputy took the man into custody and identified him as Daniel W. Bell, 27, of Old Town, Harden said.
     The deputy then returned to the vehicles with the man in custody, Harden said, and this is where another deputy was standing by with the Lashell R. Jones, 36 of Old Town.
     While completing their investigation on the scene, deputies found marijuana and a pipe used for smoking methamphetamine had been thrown from the vehicle, Harden said.
     Bell was arrested and charged with, fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer, tampering with evidence, resisting an officer without violence, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license. Jones was arrested for tampering with evidence, Harden said.

 


LCSO uncovers evidence after tinted windows draw attention
Convicted felon faces many new felonies
Dustin Aloysius Brooke a Levy County suspected criminal

 

 


Dustin Aloysius Brooke
Mug Shot By LCSO


By Jeff M. Hardison
© Oct. 30, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.
     LEVY COUNTY --
After a deputy stopped a vehicle for suspicion of having a window tint violation, according to information in an Oct. 29 press release from Levy County Sheriff's Office Lt. Scott Tummond, the series of events after that took illegal drugs out of circulation and caused a suspected criminal to go to jail last Saturday (Oct. 24).
     LCSO Deputy Mark Juen stopped a Ford Focus for a window tint violation in Inglis on that fateful Saturday, Lt. Tummond said.
     Dustin Aloysius Brooke, 36, of Inglis, was driving while his license was suspended for habitual traffic offenses, the deputy learned during the traffic stop for window tint violation, Tummond said. Brooke was arrested for habitually driving while license suspended.
     Subsequent to that initial arrest, Deputy Juen searched the vehicle and found a loaded firearm and drugs, Lt. Tummond said.
     There was a locked safe in the car that was not able to be opened at the time, Tummond said. Deputy Juen learned that Brooke is a 12-time convicted felon, who is prohibited from possessing a firearm, Tummond said.
     Then, Brooke was charged with possession of the firearm by a felon, driving while license suspended and possession of narcotics, Tummond said, as a list of evidence to show probable cause for accusing the man of committing more crimes continued to accumulate.
     The safe was placed in a secure location and LCSO Sgt. Kevin Kinik used his K-9 partner Zombie to sniff the safe, Tummond said.
      LCSO K-9 Zombie alerted to the presence of drugs inside the safe, Lt. Tummond said. LCSO Det. Tim Rogers obtained a search warrant and opened the safe, Tummond said.
     Det. Rogers discovered LSD, methamphetamine, marijuana, as well as prescription pills packaged for street level sales and drug paraphernalia inside that safe, Tummond said. This discovery led to additional charges being filed on Brooke.
     In total, Brooke amassed 11 new felony charges and was transported to the Levy County Detention Facility (Jail) and his combined bonds were set at $425,000, Tummond said.

 


Six suspects
jailed for drug crimes

Drug Suspects in Levy County Florida
Mug Shots By LCSO
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 30, 2020 at 12:10 a.m.
     BRONSON –
Six people from Levy and Marion counties are in jail now because they violated Florida laws regarding drugs, according to information in a Thursday (Oct. 29) press release from Levy County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Tummond and public records.
     The six people, their ages, their listed cities of residence, their charges and bonds are shown below.
     Michael J. Harvey, 50, of Williston is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and dangerous drugs keep shop or vehicle, etc. for drugs with a subsequent violation  - released on $28,500 bond, according to records.
     Shane Styers, 27, of Williston is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia $35,000 bond; and three out-of-county warrants, No Bond, according to records.
     Sydney Allen, 22, of Silver Springs is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia $35,000 bond; and three counts of Violation Of Probation – No Bond, according to records.
     Anna Gonzalez, 29, of Williston is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, and possession of drug paraphernalia $35,000 bond, according to records.
     Johnathan Ray Slaughter, 33, of Dunnellon is charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, and possession of drug paraphernalia $20,000 bond, according to records.
     Casey Andrew Popp, 31, of Belleview, two counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, and possession of drug paraphernalia $35,000 bond, according to records.
     In August of 2020 the Levy Count Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at a home located at 91 N.E. 131st Terrace in Williston, Lt. Tummond said.
     This search warrant was the culmination of a yearlong investigation in which six people were arrested. Two additional suspects were not arrested on scene, but charges were filed, Lt. Tummond said.
     The investigation did not end with these arrests, Lt. Tummond added. One of the two individuals that had not been arrested during the previous investigation had a warrant issued for his arrest, Tummond said.
    The arrest warrant was executed yesterday (Wednesday, Oct. 28) by detectives of the Levy County Drug Task Force and Criminal Investigations Division.
     Harvey was identified in the prior investigation as the owner of this home on Northeast 131st Terrace, Tummond said, and he had been charged with possession of narcotics and maintaining a drug dwelling thus creating the warrant for his arrest. 
     Detectives located and arrested Harvey at his home, Tummond said. Detectives found five other people in this home when they arrived, Tummond said.
     Styers and Allen had active warrants for their arrests and were taken into custody.
     Allen was located hiding inside of a mattress box spring set, Tummond said, adding that she was not found until the box spring was turned up and against the adjacent wall.
     Detectives said when they turned the box spring over, Allen was hanging upside down and had to be helped free from her position. 
     Detectives saw all types of drug paraphernalia and illegal narcotics while inside the home when they arrived to arrest Harvey, Tummond said. Based on these observations, a second search warrant was obtained and served, Tummond added.
     Styers and Allen have been charged with drug violations in addition to the outstanding warrants, Tummond said. Gonzalez, Slaughter and Popp were arrested for the charges noted above.
     All of these suspected criminals were taken to the Levy County Detention Facility (Jail), where they have been booked in for their various charges.

 


Dixie County man sentenced
to more than 20 years
for drug trafficking and firearms

Defendant previously convicted
of second degree murder and more

Story Provided
By the U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida
Published Oct. 29, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.
     GAINESVILLE –
Daniel LeBron, 47, of Cross City was sentenced Monday (Oct 26) to a total of 21 and one-half years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams methamphetamine, possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, and possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon.
     Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the sentence.
     “The sale and use of methamphetamines in our communities has devastating and wide-reaching effects and must be stopped,” U.S. Attorney Keefe said. “With the help of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we will continue to pursue, prosecute and punish those who bring these drugs into hometowns across Northern Florida.”
     Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have been working with deputies from the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) to investigate and prosecute individuals who are distributing large amounts of methamphetamine in the Dixie County area.
     On April 24, 2019, deputies from DCSO conducted a traffic stop on LeBron and arrested him after a search led to the discovery of two ounces of methamphetamine, pills, and more than $10,000 cash.
     The deputies also recovered the key to a safe from around LeBron’s neck. When DEA agents executed a federal search warrant at his residence, they used the key to open a safe found in his bedroom. Inside the safe, agents located an additional seven ounces of methamphetamine, more pills, and drug paraphernalia.
     Agents discovered two firearms in LeBron’s bedroom; an AR-15 and a loaded .22 caliber rifle. LeBron admitted that he had been dealing methamphetamine.
      “Our law enforcement partnerships play such a vital role in fighting violent crime and protecting the public,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCrary. “This sentencing is another example that working jointly with our partners is making our communities safer.”
     Further investigation by the DEA revealed that LeBron was involved with several others in an ongoing conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in the Dixie County area. Agents determined that over the course of the conspiracy, LeBron had trafficked over seven kilograms (in excess of 15 pounds) of methamphetamine to individuals in Dixie County.
     “LeBron is a dangerous methamphetamine trafficker who is now off the streets of Dixie County,” said DEA’s Miami Field Division Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis.
     LeBron will serve 16 and a half years on the methamphetamine charge followed by five years on the firearm in furtherance charge. The Court ordered 10 years of supervised release for the convicted felon following LeBron’s prison term. LeBron is now a five-time convicted felon with prior convictions for second degree murder and escape.
     This sentencing resulted from the collaborative work of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Chris Elsey.
     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the United States of America’s principal litigators of federal crimes.

 


FDLE arrests Naples man
for voter fraud;

Suspect allegedly altered
governor's voter registration address

By FDLE Office of Public Information
Published Oct. 28, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
     NAPLES –
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Anthony Steven Guevara, 20, of Naples, on charges of unauthorized access of a computer and altering a voter registration without consent after Guevara changed the voter registration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Jacksonville).
     FDLE agents began investigating Monday (Oct. 26) after Gov. DeSantis learned his address in the Florida voting registration database was changed to an address in West Palm Beach.
     Agents say the registration address was changed via computer over a web browser. Agents identified Guevara as the suspect and arrested him at his home following a search warrant Tuesday night (Oct. 27). Collier County Sheriff’s Office assisted in this case.
     Agents believe Guevara also accessed the voter registrations of United States Sen. Rick Scott (R-Naples) and sports celebrities Michael Jordan and LeBron James, but made no changes.
     FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said, “I am proud of the quick and detailed work of our agents on this case and appreciate the hard work of the offices of State Attorneys Amira Fox and Jack Campbell.  FDLE is committed to ensuring the voting rights of Florida citizens are protected, and we will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners in ensuring the security of our elections.”
     Guevara was booked into the Collier County Jail on a $5,000 bond.   This case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, 20th Judicial Circuit.

 


FDACS agents arrest
Bronson’s Marathon
gas pump skimmer suspect

Sneak Thief Suspect David Ortiz-Barban  Levy Cuonty Gas Skimmer suspect

 

 


David Ortiz-Barban
Mug Shot By HCSO

 


By FDACS Communications
Published Oct. 26, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     TALLAHASSEE —
Last week, The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement (OALE) made an arrest after an investigation into a credit card skimming operation in Levy County.
     On Wednesday (Oct. 21), OALE investigators took David Ortiz-Barban, 33, of Brooksville into custody — he was booked into the Hernando County Jail and bond was set at $30,000.
     “The Sunshine State is known for beaches and oranges, but also fraud — we are the top state for scams, and gas pump skimmers are a driving factor,” Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried said. “Skimmers, and the criminals who install them, threaten consumer rights and interests, as well as Floridians’ economic security. Since 2015, FDACS has located and removed over 4,860 skimmers at gas stations throughout the state. FDACS is committed to aggressively pursuing these perpetrators and taking swift action to protect consumers.”
     Following is what led to the Oct. 21 arrest.
     On Aug. 12, OALE investigators opened an investigation into a credit card skimming operation in Levy County. OALE investigators recovered numerous skimming devices attached to fuel dispenser pumps.
     On Aug. 13 and 19, OALE investigators were made aware that someone had breached a fuel dispenser and tampered with the inner electronic components at the Marathon fuel station in Bronson.
     Through surveillance and witness information, investigators identified two men present who were directly in front of the opened fuel pump dispenser door, accessing and altering the electronic components and stealing an electronic motherboard with a skimming device previously installed.
     Through research in law enforcement databases, OALE investigators ascertained that the license plate used during the commission of the crimes had been attached to additional vehicles since July 29.
     Due to the license plate being affixed to an Enterprise cargo van, investigators were able to identify David Ortiz-Barban as the individual observed in the surveillance photographs.
     On Oct. 12, OALE investigators obtained a sworn statement from the victim. In the statement, the victim stated that the damage, repair, and monetary loss for the altering of the fuel pump resulted in an estimated loss of in excess of $1,000.
     On Oct. 21, OALE investigators took David Ortiz-Barban into custody on an arrest warrant. Barban was transported to and booked into the Hernando County Jail. Bond was set at $30,000.
     Barban was charged with the following: grand theft while causing damage to property of another in excess of $1000; two counts of unauthorized access to an electronic device; two counts of criminal mischief (interruption or impairment of a business operation; and possession of a skimming device.
     Skimmers are small electronic devices illegally installed inside gas pumps. They first appeared in Florida in 2015 and have grown exponentially since.
     FDACS’ Bureau of Standards inspects more than 8,700 gas stations each year and has removed 4,860 skimmers since 2015. The Bureau also inspects pumps for safety and accuracy.
     Skimmers can be undetectable to consumers because of their location inside gas pumps. They have a potential for $1 million in fraudulent credit card charges per skimmer. They range from simple devices that clamp onto internal wiring that criminals must later retrieve, to sophisticated devices that deliver stolen credit card data via Bluetooth and automated text messaging.
     Since September, FDACS has partnered with local law enforcement offices in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Volusia, Flagler, Orange, Sarasota, St. Johns, Broward, and Bay counties to perform multiple successful gas pump skimmer sweeps of over 1,500 gas stations.
     Here are consumer tips to avoid fraud at the pump:
     ● Take a close look at the pump: Avoid using pumps that are open or unlocked, have had the tamper-evident security tape cut or removed, or otherwise appear unusual. If unsure, use another pump or pay inside with cash or a credit card.
    ● Use a credit card, not a debit card: If a credit card number is skimmed, you’re protected by the card issuer’s zero-liability policy – but a stolen debit card number could be far more damaging. If you must use a debit card, choose to use it as credit, instead of selecting debit and entering your PIN.
     ● Pay inside, not at the pump: It takes just seconds for criminals to place a skimmer in a gas pump — but it’s far less likely that a skimmer has been placed on the payment terminal in front of the clerk inside the gas station or convenience store. Take the few extra minutes to pay inside with cash or a credit card to protect yourself from fraud.
     ● Choose gas pumps closest to the physical building: Don’t use gas pumps out of the attendant’s line of sight such as those around a corner or behind a building. Thieves placing skimmers are less likely to put them in pumps where the store attendant may catch them in the act.
     ● Check card statements and sign up for fraud alerts: Nearly every credit card issuer offers fraud alerts, and many will email or text you when your card is used at a gas station. Check your credit card and debit card transactions frequently to make sure no fraudulent activity has occurred.
     If consumers suspect a gas pump skimmer, they should contact FDACS — all consumer complaints will be investigated. To file a consumer complaint, visit https://www.fdacs.gov/Consumer-Resources or call 1-800-HELP-FLA or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (in Spanish).

 
 

AdDCSOLogo2016
Following are some common abbreviations:

DUI - Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Some Other Drug
DWLSR - Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
RWOV - Resisting Arrest Without Violence
Poss. - Possession
VOP - Violation of Probation
FTA - Failure to Appear
ROR - Released on their Own Recognizance
LEO - Law Enforcement Officer
YOA - Years Of Age



Suspects Arrested

Nov. 16 Through Nov. 22
Published Nov. 23, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.


Suspected Criminals Put In The Dixie County Florida Jail  HardisonInk.com

 




AdGCSOLogo2016

Following are some common abbreviations:

DUI - Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Some Other Drug
DWLSR - Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
RWOV - Resisting Arrest Without Violence
Poss. - Possession
VOP - Violation of Probation
FTA - Failure to Appear
ROR -  Release on their Own Recognizance

LEO - Law Enforcement Officer
YOA - Years Of Age


Suspects Arrested
Nov. 16 Through Nov. 22
Published Nov. 23, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.


Gilchrist County Suspects Jailed

 

 




Levy County Sheriff's office LOGO HardisonInk.com

Following are some common abbreviations:

DUI - Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Some Other Drug
BUI - Boating While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Some Other Drug
DWLSR - Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
RWOV - Resisting Arrest Without Violence
Poss. - Possession
VOP - Violation of Probation
FTA - Failure to Appear
ROR - Released On their Own Recognizance
LEO - Law Enforcement Officer
YOA - Years Of Age



Suspects Arrested
Nov. 16 Through Nov. 22
Published Nov. 23, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

Levy County Suspects  Bronson Florida

--UPDATED--
SUNDAY  NOV. 29  7:10 a.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties

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Here, Goldy the cat Hardison
plays dead - he signature trick.
Cat training and video
By Jeff M. Hardison
© 2012-2019 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



LCSO Most Wanted Suspended
The Levy County Sheriff's Office has suspended the Most Wanted listings.
Published April 14, 2020 at 5
:10 p.m.

 


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