CCSO break up drug distribution center at cell phone store
MIDDLEBURG – The Clay County Sheriff’s Office raided a Boost Mobile store Sept. 12 that was operating as a distribution center for illegal drugs.
Fourteen people were arrested on Sept. 11 after investigators with the Organized Crime Section learned store employees were selling methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl at the store at 2684 Blanding Blvd.
People lined up at the strip center and waited for the store to open, CCSO Lt. Domenic Panicia said. The drug traffic was so prolific, Panicia said one employee admitted he’d never sold any cell phones or phone equipment as an employee.
“It’s pretty shocking, the boldness of this operation, “Panicia said. “It was lengthy. It was almost like comparing it to a Black Friday event. Before this store would open, people would congregate outside. They would wait in line. If the store was a minute over the normal operating time, they would knock on the front doors, the back doors. It was a pretty bold operation.”
Those who were arrested included:
• Jessica Nicole Berge, 25, of Middleburg. She was charged with possession of methamphetamine, a narcotic without a prescription and drug paraphernalia.
• John Levi Carter, 24, of Jacksonville. He was charged with possession of fentanyl, Buprenorphine Hydrochloride and drug paraphernalia.
• Christopher Patrick Bushey, 28, of Middleburg. He was charged with buying methamphetamine from an undercover agent.
• Charles Randall Odom, 44, Middleburg. He was charged with purchasing methamphetamine, amphetamine and heroin from an undercover agent.
• James Bain Smith, 49, Middleburg. He was charged with possession with intent to sell methamphetamine from an undercover agent.
• William Allen Strawn Jr., 31, of Middleburg. He was charged with trading heroin for methamphetamine and amphetamine from an undercover agent.
• Nicholous Orion Watkins, 22, of Baldwin. He was charged with selling cannabis and marijuana and buying amphetamine from an undercover agent.
The owners of the phone store provided the following statement:
"As the owners of the franchise, we are dealing with this matter internally and will be assisting CCSO with any information or material they may need to conduct this investigation, or any individuals involved.
“This company works off of trust and hope that our employees will do the right thing. Sadly, it’s apparent that the trust was taken advantage of with us, as owners not being present in Jacksonville and Clay county all the time.
“I assure you that we will do everything in our power to help the Clay County Sheriffs Office in their investigation."
Jacksonville teen charged with armed home invasion
CLAY COUNTY – A Jacksonville man was held in the Clay County Jail without bond after being charged with pointing a rifle at a victim during a home invasion.
Talint Wayne Jamal Curtis, 18, was charged with home invasion with a deadly firearm after Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputies said he and three others broke into a home on Sept. 9. The victim said he was forced to lay on the floor while the four searched for money. The victim said they took his wallet.
Curtis was arrested by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Monday and transported to Clay County.
Three busted during drug raid by SWAT team
MIDDLEBURG – The Clay County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit and SWAT team arrested three people in a drug sting at 5337 Angus Road.
Walter George Trancynger, 32, of Middleburg, was charged with selling drugs from his home, while William Michael Schell, 43, of Middleburg was charged with obstructing deputies when they tried to serve the search warrant and Crystal Ann Blair Billings, 27, of Middleburg was charged with possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
Women caught with trunk of unpaid Walmart goods
FLEMING ISLAND – Two women were caught trying to leave a Walmart with a cart filled with items without paying, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said.
Storm Elizabeth Lee, 20, Middleburg, and Sierra Dawn Taylor, 24, of Green Cove Springs, were charged with grand theft on Sept. 15 after an employee watched them place 66 items, including food and clothes, into a shopping cart and leaving the store. The women were seen driving away with the goods, but they were stopped by CCSO at County Road 218 and Blanding Boulevard. Deputies found $636.53 worth of goods in the women’s trunk.