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UDEST touts recent drug busts highlighted by massive Fentanyl seizure in Summerfield

The commander of the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team in Marion County sent a clear message during a press conference Wednesday afternoon – his agents are targeting drug traffickers and taking dangerous and illegal narcotics off the streets at a rapid pace.

“In the first quarter of 2021, the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team arrested over 80 individuals with charges ranging from possession to drug trafficking,” said Capt. Robert Douglas, who oversees the unit comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement agents.

UDEST press conference 2
Ocala Police Capt. Robert Douglas, who oversees the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team in Marion County, talks about recent arrests during a press conference Wednesday at Ocala Police headquarters.

Douglas said it’s no secret that Marion County has been experiencing an increase in overdoses and his team decided it was time to go after the drug traffickers responsible. He said during a multitude of investigations, they seized more than 300 marijuana plants, an additional 300 pounds of marijuana packed for distribution, more than one kilogram of concentrated THC derivatives, one and a half kilos of cocaine, one kilo of heroin, 36 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, three kilograms of Fentanyl, 21 guns and more than $180,000 in cash.

Douglas said the most important seizures involve Fentanyl, an opioid used as a pain medication and recreational drug that’s frequently connected to overdoses.

“Fentanyl is an extremely lethal substance that’s being mixed with other drugs throughout our community right now,” Douglas said.

Noah Steven Francis
Noah Steven Francis

The UDEST commander cited the recent arrest of 26-year-old Noah Steven Francis, of Summerfield, as one of the biggest his team has made. Francis was charged with armed trafficking in Fentanyl (over 200 grams); armed trafficking in crystal methamphetamine (over 28 grams); possession of cocaine with intent to distribute; child neglect; possession of marijuana with intent to distribute; possession of a structure for distribution of controlled substances; possession of a weapon or ammunition by a convicted felon; possession of drug paraphernalia and warrants for past charges of trafficking in cocaine (28 grams or more) and possession of cannabis with intent to sell, manufacture or distribute.

“Taking this much Fentanyl off the streets was a huge win for the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team in Marion County and Ocala because we prevented countless overdose deaths that’s caused by this deadly drug,” Douglas said.

Douglas added that in the first quarter of this year, UDEST arrested more than 80 people – some of which are listed below – with charges ranging from possession to drug trafficking.

“Some have multiple charges and some are facing federal prosecution,” he said.

Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken said there have been nearly 900 overdoses in the city since mid-2017, with 119 of those people losing their lives.

“That’s enough people to fill this room,” he said during the press conference. “If it was a normal homicide, people would be up in arms. As a matter of fact, they’d be calling for the sheriff’s job and the police chief’s job.”

He called the number of overdoses “scary” and said the efforts to curtail illegal drug activity won’t stop.

“It’s terrifying the number of people that can die at the hands of a drug dealer that wants to turn a quick profit,” he said.

UDEST press conference 1
Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken encouraged those who are battling drug addiction to reach out for help to local police departments or sheriff’s offices. He said there are a number or programs available to help people save their own lives or those of addicted family members or friends.

Balken also sent out a message to those who are struggling with drug addiction.

“Reach out for help,” he said. “Reach out to your local police department or sheriff’s office and ask for that help. There are programs available that we can help you save your own life. We can help you take control away from the drug dealers and in so doing maybe save your own life and the life of somebody else.”

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.

Below are some of the significant recent UDEST arrests involving illegal narcotics and other crimes:

UDEST collage 1
Row 1: Kristina Melton Dukes, Kitreana Virginia Grant, Jesse David Pearson, Rocky Scholl. Row 2: Hilda Laparra, Leon Vernon Pullings, John Brandon Selph, Freddie J. Garmon. Row 3: Corey D’onta Brown, Sabrina Ann Vanase, Brent Anthony Smith, Curtis Michael Newbern. Row 4: Leamon Hendrix, Shawn Matthew Evans, Diana Elaine Brown, Terry Dylan Swinehart.

Kristina Melton Dukes, 57

  • Arrested: Dec. 9, 2020 and booked into the Marion County Jail at 4:20 p.m.
  • Charges: Possession of drug paraphernalia, 2 counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of methamphetamine

Kitreana Virginia Grant, 43

  • Residence: Inverness
  • Arrested: Dec. 2, 2020
  • Charges: Possession and/or use of drug equipment, sale of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a church and possession of cocaine with intent to sell

Jesse David Pearson, 40

  • Residence: Spring Hill
  • Arrested: Dec. 17, 2020
  • Charge: Possession of synthetic cannabinoids

Rocky Scholl, 36

  • Residence: Woodland, Calif.
  • Arrested: Dec. 11, 2020
  • Charges: Aggravated battery

Hilda Laparra, 28

  • Residence: Woodland, Calif.
  • Arrested: Dec. 11, 2020
  • Charges: Possession of marijuana over 20 grams, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession and/or use of drug equipment

Leon Vernon Pullings, 57

  • Residence: Silver Springs
  • Arrested: Dec. 2, 2020
  • Charges: 3 counts of sale of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a social service organization, sale of crack cocaine with intent, 4 counts of possession of crack cocaine, possession of marijuana not more than 20 grams and possession and/or use of drug equipment

John Brandon Selph, 38

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Dec. 2, 2020
  • Charges: Possession of crack cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of probation on a domestic violence injunction

Freddie J. Garmon, 32

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Dec. 4, 2020
  • Charges: Selling cocaine and possession of cocaine

Corey D’onta Brown, 32

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Dec. 10, 2020
  • Charges: Outstanding warrants for 3 counts of sale of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a place of worship and 3 counts of possession of crack cocaine

Sabrina Ann Vanase, 53

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Dec. 2, 2020
  • Charges: Possession of a controlled substance (powder cocaine), possession of a controlled substance (Oxycodone Hydrochloride) and possession and/or use of drug equipment

Brent Anthony Smith, 37

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Dec. 15, 2020
  • Charge: Grand theft auto

Curtis Michael Newbern, 57

  • Residence: Fort McCoy
  • Arrested: Dec. 17, 2020
  • Charges: Possession of synthetic cannabinoid with intent to distribute, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, possess of drug paraphernalia, possession of controlled substance (Tramadol Hydrochloride) and possession of a controlled substance (Diazepam)

Leamon Hendrix, 40

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Jan. 17
  • Charges: Trafficking in methamphetamine, trafficking in MDMA, possession of Fentanyl with intent to sell, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, 3 counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia, providing false identification to a law enforcement officer, no valid driver’s license, 2 counts of sale of cocaine and 2 counts of possession of cocaine

Shawn Matthew Evans, 28

  • Residence: Anthony
  • Arrested: Arrested Nov. 24, 2020
  • Charges: Possession of crystal methamphetamine, 6 counts of sale of crystal methamphetamine, 5 counts of trafficking in crystal methamphetamine, 6 counts of trafficking in methamphetamine, sale of a controlled substance in excess of 10 grams (methamphetamine), 5 counts of sale of methamphetamine, felony battery and battery

Diana Elaine Brown, 49

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Dec. 26, 2020
  • Charges: Providing a false name to a law enforcement officer, retail petit theft and outstanding warrants for sale of cocaine and possession of cocaine

Terry Dylan Swinehart, 23

  • Residence: Summerfield
  • Arrested: Jan. 15
  • Charges: Providing false identification to a law enforcement officer and violating probation for grand theft

UDEST Collage 2
Row 1: Brandi Dianne Mitchell, Eric Lee Hursh, Clyde Allen Phelps, Barney Bernard Allen. Row 2: Jessica Lynn Drum, Sabrina Thompson, John Eugene Pellegrini, Kenneth Lee Graham. Row 3: Tyrone Cornelious Hammock, Luis Antonio Orsini, Shane Dustin Barner, David Smith III. Row 4: Showra C. Jackson, Odell Willie Ballet, Tikeyra Ballet, Phillip Washington III.

Brandi Dianne Mitchell, 31

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Jan. 7
  • Charges: Possession of methamphetamine, domestic battery on a person 65 years of age or older and domestic cruelty toward a child

Eric Lee Hursh, 40

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Jan. 11
  • Charge: Possession of a controlled substance without a prescription

Clyde Allen Phelps, 72

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Jan. 11
  • Charges: Possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of Alprazolam, possession of Oxycodone, possession of THC derivative (edibles) and possession of drug paraphernalia

Barney Bernard Allen, 60

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Jan. 12
  • Charges: Possession of drug paraphernalia, contempt of court for a past charge of driving while license suspended or revoked and warrants for past charges of sale of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a place of worship and possession of crack cocaine

Jessica Lynn Drum, 37

  • Residence: Belleview
  • Arrested: Jan. 15
  • Charges: Providing false identification to a law enforcement officer, warrant violations for larceny petit theft (second offense) and bond revoked for past charges of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession and/or use of drug equipment, driving while license suspended (first offense) and providing false ID to a law enforcement officer

Sabrina Thompson, 29

  • Residence: Dunnellon
  • Arrested: Jan. 19
  • Charges: Possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, dealing in stolen property, providing false information to a pawn shop owner and larceny/grand theft

John Eugene Pellegrini, 40

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 5
  • Charges: Aggravated battery on a pregnant victim, selling methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a place of worship/business and a probation violation for a past charge of driving while license suspended or revoked

Kenneth Lee Graham, 46

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Jan. 7
  • Charges: Warrants for failure to appear in court on past charges of resisting or obstructing an officer without violence; possession of MDMA, synthetic cannabinoids and drug paraphernalia; and past charges of possession and sale of synthetic cannabinoids

Tyrone Cornelious Hammock, 52

  • Arrested: Feb. 12
  • Charges: Trespass after warning, 2 counts of possession of cocaine and 2 counts of sale of cocaine

Luis Antonio Orsini, 22

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 22
  • Charges: Possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana with intent to sekll, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of drug paraphernalia

Shane Dustin Barner, 26

  • Residence: Fort McCoy
  • Arrested: Feb. 22
  • Charges: Possession of marijuana over 20 grams with intent to sell and possession of a THC derivative with intent to sell

David Smith III, 18

  • Residence: Summerfield
  • Arrested: Feb. 13
  • Charges: possession of a firearm by an adjudicated juvenile delinquent, possession of ammunition by an adjudicated juvenile delinquent aggravated assault with a firearm, resisting an officer without violence, grand theft of a firearm, possession of marijuana less than 20 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia and warrants for past charges of domestic battery by strangulation, battery and criminal mischief ($200 or less subsequent offense)

Showra C. Jackson, 27

  • Residence: Dunnellon
  • Arrested: Feb. 3
  • Charges: Possession of THC and carrying a concealed unlicensed firearm

Odell Willie Ballet, 31

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 11
  • Charges: Keeping or maintaining a place for drug sale/use, 3 counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a THC derivative, a past charge of failure to return a rental vehicle and a warrant to revoke pond for a past charge of failure to return leased property

Tikeyra Ballet, 24

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 11
  • Charges: Keeping or maintaining a place for drug sale/use, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a THC derivative

Phillip Washington III, 28

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 9
  • Charges: Resisting without violence; outstanding warrants to revoke bond for past charges of possession of a firearm or ammunition by a felon, possession of cannabis over 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of Oxycodone; and failure to appear in court on past charges of possession of Oxycodone and cannabis less than 20 grams

 

BeFunky collage 3x
Row 1: Harvey Lee Little III, Travone Calik Guinyard, Noah Steven Francis, Jordon Goodman. Row 2: Harley R. Perkins, Alan Lavan Adamson, Dylan Frederick Anderson, Anna Hamilton. Row 3: Jason Jacox, Jason M. Simpson, Ricky Allen Boyd, Leann Moore. Row 4: Benjamin Tyree Townsel, Charles Samuel Howard, Terry Lynne Tillman.

Harvey Lee Little III, 18

  • Residence: Summerfield
  • Arrested: Feb. 15
  • Charges: Tampering with evidence and resisting without violence

Travone Calik Guinyard, 18

  • Residence: Pelion, S.C.
  • Arrested: Feb. 3
  • Charges: Grand theft of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm, possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and providing a false name to a law enforcement officer

Jordon Goodman, 20

  • Arrested: Feb. 17
  • Charges: Possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and driving while license suspended (first offense)

Harley R. Perkins, 25

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 3
  • Charges: Possession of cannabis (more than 20 grams), possession of THC content and possession of drug paraphernalia

Alan Lavan Adamson, 52

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 4
  • Charges: Warrants for past charges of possession of synthetic cannabinoid and selling synthetic cannabinoid within 1,000 feet of a community center

Dylan Frederick Anderson, 28

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 10
  • Charges: Trafficking in crystal methamphetamine (28 grams), trafficking in Fentanyl (4 grams), 2 counts of possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon, aiding and abetting the maintaining or keeping of a residence for drug sale/use and possession of drug paraphernalia

Anna Hamilton, 30

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 10
  • Charges: Trafficking in crystal methamphetamine (28 grams), trafficking in Fentanyl (4 grams), possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia

Jason Jacox, 41

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 10
  • Charges: Possession of heroin (1 gram), possession of marijuana (less than 20 grams), possession of drug paraphernalia, trespass to a structure and failure to appear on a past charge of trespassing

Jason M. Simpson, 29

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 10
  • Charges: Maintaining or keeping a residence for drug sale/use and possession of drug paraphernalia

Ricky Allen Boyd, 59

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 21
  • Charges: Possession of marijuana more than 20 grams

Leann Moore, 22

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 15
  • Charges: Fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer at a high speed

Benjamin Tyree Townsel

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Feb. 15
  • Charges: Tampering with evidence, resisting without violence, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and bond revoked for past charges of resisting an officer without violence, possession of marijuana not more than 20 grams, knowingly driving while license suspended or revoked and fleeing/eluding a law enforcement officer with lights and siren active

Charles Samuel Howard, 59

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Dec. 3, 2020
  • Charges: Possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Terry Lynne Tillman, 38

  • Residence: Ocala
  • Arrested: Dec. 1
  • Charges: Possession of heroin, prostitution and possession of drug paraphernalia

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