CCSO: Middleburg drug house raid leads to 10 arrests; Investigation included several traffic stops, information from fed-up neighbors
MIDDLEBURG – An investigation that started with a traffic stop in June eventually led to a sweeping raid last week that resulted in the arrests of 10 people.
Members of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division and Street Crimes Unit ascended on a mobile home at 1996 Gentlebreeze Road on July 2, where more than 84 grams of methamphetamine, six grams of heroin and drug paraphernalia were seized.
The following were booked in the county jail:
• Robert Erston McCullar III, 44, of Interlachen. He was charged with possession of a firearm or ammo by a convicted felon, armed trafficking of more than 14 grams of methamphetamine and possession of heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia and habitual traffic offender.
• Misty Lee Downs, 46, of Middleburg. She was charged with maintaining a house with drugs.
• Jeffrey Allen Parsons, 33, of Middleburg. He was living at the house, and deputies found 2.42 grams of methamphetamine and of ammo in his locked bedroom. According to CCS), Parsons had 11 previous felony convictions. Staying at the house.
• Cecil Eugene Saunders, 28, of Jacksonville. He was charged with resisting, obstructing or opposing a police officer after he tried to distract deputies during the drug raid by kicking several dogs in the front yard. Saunders was told to stop kicking the dogs during the raid, which prompted deputies to tackle him for not complying.
• Rebecca Lynn Fisher, 27, of Middleburg. She was charged with possession of heroin.
• Heather Kay Vance, 27, of Middleburg. She was charged with possession of methamphetamine, heroin and controlled substances without a prescription.
• Austin Cox, 21, of Middleburg. He was charged with possession of methamphetamine and retail petit theft.
• Destany Linda-Sue Austin, 19, of Middleburg. She was charged with possession of methamphetamine.
• Tiffany York, 28, of Middleburg. She was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
• Edward James Castro, 49, of Middleburg. He was charged with possession of methamphetamine, less than 20 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and for being a habitual traffic offender.
According to arrest and warrant documents, deputies were alerted by residents the house was being used for drug deals, and CCSO was able to bolster its case when Vance was stopped on June 11 at County Road 220 and College Drive for not having a license tag. Drug dog K9 Titan conducted a “sniff” test of car and alerted deputies of possible drugs. A search led to the recovery of 1.97 grams of methamphetamine, 1.93 grams of fentanyl and several unprescribed pills.
Vance apparently had a connection to the home at Gentlebreeze Road.
Deputies then conducted at least two separate traffic stops on July 2 after seeing both cars make stops at Gentlebreeze Road.
Cox and Austin were stopped on County Road 218 at Bluejay Drive after a check of the license tag revealed the owner had an outstanding warrant for retail petit theft.
Deputies then found a bag with methamphetamine in the back seat.
McCullar was stopped after he was observed not driving in his lane on County Road 218. According to the arrest report, Castro made an “abrupt” right turn onto Hibiscus Avenue without using his blinker that created an “disruption” of traffic. After that, he made a u-turn back to C.R. 218 where he and Fisher were stopped.
McCullar was “spontaneously” uttering, CCSO said, so K9 Bull was called to scene. K9 Bull alerted deputies to possible drugs inside the car, where they found 70.26 grams of crystalline substance in center console, along with another bag containing 14.64 grams (all meth), 1.22 grams of a brown powder substance (heroin), several empty plastic bags and a scale. Also found a loaded .38-caliber revolver.
Deputies found 1.22 grams of heroin in Fisher’s purse.
McCullar also received warnings for failure to use proper turn signal, failure to maintain single lane and a criminal citation for being a habitual traffic offender (five other citations since March 30, 2017).
Another traffic stop with a link to the home on Gentlebreeze Road involved Castro. He was pulled over because his rear tag was obscured. Castro was pulled over on County Road 281 at Carter Spencer Road for the improper tag. K9 Cash signaled the likely presence of drugs in the pickup truck.
Deputies wound up finding 2.62 grams of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia (three pipes and several cut straws) and 5.9 grams of marijuana. McCullar was in the county jail with a bond of $117,514.
Buoyed by the traffic stops and other information, authorities were able to get a warrant for the drug raid. According to warrant, “Due to having several complaints from numerous citizens in reference to narcotic activity at 1996 Gentlebreeze Drive, performing two separate traffic stops on two separate vehicles leaving 1996 Gentlebreeze Drive and locating methamphetamine and heroin in both vehicles, having two separate sources who were interviewed separately and without knowledge of the other source …”
Woman jailed for possessing, trafficking, distributing drugs in Orange Park
ORANGE PARK – A Jacksonville woman was arrested Monday night after Clay County Sheriff Office deputies said they saw her recently selling drugs behind a grocery store on Wells Road.
Erika Suzanne Gordon, 46, was charged with selling methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, distributing cocaine, trafficking in narcotics, possession of fentanyl, Clonazepam, ecstasy, Buprenorphine Hydrochloride, heroin and less than 20 grams of marijuana.
The investigation started when CCSO set up a surveillance at the 1600 block of Wells Road on May 30. They noticed a man riding a bicycle apparently making a “hand-to-hand” transaction, according to the arrest report.
Based on the transaction, Gordon was stopped in the Orange Park Mall parking lot. Deputies searched the car and found the drugs after Gordon appeared to be concealing them in the passenger’s seat.
Gordon’s bond was set at $285,016 Tuesday morning.
North Carolina women caught with pot plants loaded in trunk
MIDDLEBURG – Clay County Sheriff deputies found three-quarters of a pound of marijuana in a car they stopped two women for driving without their headlights at 9:01 p.m. recently on Blanding Boulevard.
Rocio Anayeli Bravo Cruz, 21, of Jonesville, N.C., and Brittany Nicole Hylton, 21, of Elkin, N.C. were arrested for possession of more than 20 grams of pot with intent to sell, manufacturer or deliver and illegally cultivating marijuana.
According to the arrest report, deputies smelled marijuana after they stopped Cruz in a parking lot at Baxley Road on July 2. They found seven potted marijuana plants in the trunk and a pot filled with 345 grams of pot.
Burned out tag light leads to methamphetamine trafficking arrest
MIDDLEBURG – A woman stopped with no tag light wound up in the Clay County Jail after sheriff deputies found drugs in her car.
Nicole Hope Boston, 28, of Middleburg, was charged with possession and trafficking 14 grams of methamphetamine or amphetamine, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, as well as possession of heroin, clonazepam, oxycodone and drug paraphernalia.
According to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Boston became nervous after deputies noticed her car registration had expired in May. A drug-sniffing dog alerted the presence of drugs inside the car.
She was being held with an $80,013 bond.
Masked bandit caught when he returns to burglary scene
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – An 18-year-old man from Penney Farms was arrested after Clay County Sheriff deputies said he broke into the same home more than once while wearing a mask as his victims slept.
Following an investigation and subsequent stakeout, Benjammin La’Zacchaeus Brown was charged on July 1 with burglary while wearing a mask and committing a felony while wearing a mask. He was caught by deputies who were waiting for him to return after the homeowners said he apparently returned a couple times to rob the same house. Deputies said the home also appeared to be broken into on June 21 and 28.
According to CCSO, Brown briefly tried to resist and was tackled while being arrested.
Man jailed on 2017 warrant for not paying sales tax
FLEMING ISLAND – A routine traffic stop led to the arrest of a man who was wanted for not paying sales tax.
Charles J. Cales, 54, of Fleming Island, was picked up on an outstanding 2017 warrant from Jacksonville for failure to remit sales tax.