Marion sheriff’s K-9 quickly tracks down drug suspect in wooded area

Eric Noel Colon

On Ocala man was arrested on drug charges Thursday morning after leading Marion County sheriff’s deputies on a car chase and then trying to escape by foot before being caught in the woods.

Eric Noel Colon, 41, of 480 Water Place, was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, attempting to elude law enforcement, and a third or subsequent offense of driving with a suspended license.

Shortly after 4 a.m., a sergeant observed a brown 2006 Buick LaCrosse traveling east on SE 24th Street with a tag light that was not illuminating 50 feet to the rear. As the vehicle turned south onto SE 58th Avenue, the sergeant ran the tag through the Driver and Vehicle Information Database and learned the registered owner of the vehicle had a suspended driver’s license, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The sergeant activated his lights to conduct a traffic stop in the 3500 block of SE 58th Avenue, but the vehicle turned west onto SE 35th Street without stopping. The vehicle then turned north onto SE 57th Avenue and began to accelerate. The sergeant activated his emergency sirens and initiated a pursuit, according to the report.

The driver continued west onto SE 34th Street and north onto SE 53rd Court before immediately making a U-turn and heading east on SE 34th Street. The vehicle stopped in the 5400 block of SE 34th Street and the driver fled northbound on foot, according to the report.

Several units set up a perimeter and a K-9 deputy used his K-9, “Zeus,” to track down the driver in a wooded area in the 4900 block of SE 38th Street. The driver was positively identified as Colon, and a computer search confirmed his license was suspended and revealed seven prior convictions for driving with a suspended license, according to the report.

A search of Colon’s vehicle turned up a clear plastic baggie on the driver’s side door rest containing a green leafy substance that field tested positive for THC. Meanwhile, K-9 Zeus alerted deputies to a Newport cigarette box about 50 yards from the vehicle in the direction Colon fled. The box contained two clear plastic bags containing a white powdery substance that field tested for cocaine, according to the report.

Colon was arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was released Friday on $10,000 bond. A court date has not been scheduled.