A specialized strike team arrested seven people earlier this week during raids targeting suspected drug traffickers.

Members of the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team stand outside a Marion County home that was raided last week.
A suspect is taken into custody Wednesday after members of the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team and SWAT officers raided multiple locations throughout Marion County.

Members of the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team (UDEST) conducted search warrants Wednesday on Marion County seven locations known to be associated with 51-year-old James Edward Brown, a suspected drug trafficker. This operation was dubbed “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and is part of an investigation that has taken the team several months to complete.

Brown and six others were arrested during the simultaneous search warrant operation that occurred primarily in the area of Silver Springs Shores. The operation was launched after Brown was taken into custody following a traffic stop initiated by agents and deputies.
Agency SWAT teams secured suspect locations deemed as potentially dangerous prior to those being searched by agents and detectives. The search warrants included four residences, two storage units and one business. Four of seven locations resulted in onsite arrests.

Members of the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team arrested seven people suspected of being involved in drug trafficking during raids in Marion County on Wednesday. Top row: James Edward Brown, Tavaris Algernon Rembert Jr. and Gregory Smith. Bottom row: Chardonnay Moet Moore, Jazmin Jamie Brown, Ronald Vell Green and Diamond Delicia Demmings.

“These operations were part of an ongoing effort to apprehend individuals and organized networks responsible for the importation, manufacture and distribution of heroin and other illicit drugs within our community,” UDEST Director Capt. Corey M. Taylor said. “The teamwork displayed during the course of this investigation – especially on Wednesday – led to the apprehension and arrest of dangerous, and in many cases, armed drug traffickers. Together, we accomplished more than we ever could have alone, and our streets and our citizens are safer because of it.”

UDEST is an initiative of the North Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. It is comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement from the Ocala Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Homeland Security.

The Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team seized a large collection of illegal drugs, firearms, a vehicle and more than $31,000 in cash during raids in Marion County last Wednesday.
The Drug Enforcement Strike Team performs a thorough search of a Marion County property during a raid last Wednesday targeting suspected drug traffickers.

Wednesday’s operation also involved law enforcement officials from the Dunnellon Police Department; the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It included about 128 law enforcement officers, detectives, agents, tactical operators and support personnel, with more arrests expected as the investigation into the drug trafficking organization continues.

Below is a list of the properties that were raided, those who were arrested, the charges they’re facing and the items that were seized:

6 WATER TRACK DRIVE AND 7400 SE MARICAMP ROAD (STORAGE UNIT) IN OCALA
Arrested: James Edward Brown, 51
Charges: Two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine, trafficking in heroin, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, possession of MDMA with intent to sell, possession of Oxycodone with intent to sell, possession of Alprazolam with intent to sell, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, owning a place for manufacturing/sale of controlled substances (heroin and methamphetamine), possession of marijuana more than 20 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful use of a two-way communications device
Bond: $227,500
Court date: Feb. 18 at 9 a.m.

Arrested: Chardonnay Moet Moore, 20
Charges: possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia
Bond: $4,000 (released Friday morning)
Court date: Feb. 26 at 9 a.m.

A member of the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team takes notes after a raid Wednesday targeting drug trafficking suspects.

462 SPRING DRIVE IN OCALA
Arrested: Tavaris Algernon Rembert Jr., 23
Charge: Armed trafficking in methamphetamine and two probation violations on charges of carrying a concealed weapon
Bond: $100,000 on the drug charge, no bond on the probation violations
Court dates: Feb. 18 and 19 at 9 a.m.

8150 SE FAIRWAYS CIRCLE (APARTMENT) IN OCALA
Arrested: Gregory Smith, 50
Charges: Trafficking in heroin; possession of marijuana less than 20 grams; possession of drug paraphernalia; and ownership, lease, rental to traffic or manufacture a controlled substance
Bond: $59,000
Court date: Feb. 18 at 9 a.m.

TRAFFIC STOP
Arrested: Jazmin Jamie Brown, 20
Charge: Possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and unlawful use of a two-way communications device
Bond: $3,000 (released Friday morning)
Court date: Feb. 26 at 8 a.m.

Arrested: Ronald Vell Green, 60
Charge: Possession of heroin and possession of drug equipment
Bond: $5,000
Court date: Feb. 18 at 9 a.m.

OTHER ARRESTS
Diamond Delicia Demmings, 29
Charge: Unlawful use of a two-way communications device
Bond: $2,500 (released Friday at 9 a.m.)
Court date: Feb. 18 at 9 a.m.

SEIZURES:
Marijuana: 369 grams
Cocaine: 27.5 grams
Heroin: 74.8 grams
Methamphetamine: 939 grams
Prescription pills: 88
MDMA pills: 17
Cash: $31,016
Firearms: 9
Vehicles: Chevy Silverado pickup truck