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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Man jailed after being found passed out behind wheel of car near Ocala intersection

A 43-year-old man who passed out behind the steering wheel of a car near an Ocala intersection was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office after fentanyl and marijuana were found in his possession.

On Thursday, December 1, shortly after 4:10 p.m., an MCSO deputy responded to the area of SE 58th Avenue and Dogwood Road in Ocala in reference to a well being check on the driver of a silver Nissan sedan that was stopped at the intersection.

Upon arrival, the deputy noted in the MCSO report that the vehicle was impeding traffic in the outside lane of SE 58th Street, just north of the traffic light at Dogwood Road. A man, later identified as Gabriel Santana, was found unconscious in the driver’s seat of the vehicle.

Gabriel Santana
Gabriel Santana

According to the MCSO report, the deputy knocked on the window in an attempt to wake up Santana. The deputy observed that Santana had a reduced heart rate and was sweating profusely, and the deputy could also smell burnt marijuana emitting from the vehicle.

Marion County Fire Rescue personnel arrived on scene and opened the unlocked passenger door of the vehicle. The deputy noted that MCFR’s personnel managed to wake up Santana, and when the driver’s side door was opened, a “half-burnt marijuana cigarette” was spotted on the center console.

The deputy also observed small pieces of a green leafy substance that were spread around Santana’s lap. Santana was removed from the vehicle and detained in handcuffs.

A pat-down search of Santana was conducted and a clear plastic bag containing a green leafy substance was found in the right pocket of his pants. Prior to being read his Miranda rights, Santana asked if he was going to jail, and he told the deputy that the substance in his pocket was marijuana, according to the MCSO report.

The green leafy substance field-tested positive for the presence of fentanyl and marijuana.

After being read his Miranda rights, Santana reiterated that the substance in his pocket was marijuana and stated that it belonged to him. He also admitted to smoking the marijuana cigarette prior to the arrival of law enforcement, though he claimed that he was unaware that it contained fentanyl, according to the MCSO report.

The deputy noted in the MCSO report that the total package weight for the marijuana containing fentanyl was approximately 27 grams. The deputy also noted that a records search revealed that Santana did have a valid driver’s license.

Santana was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held on $9,000 bond. He is facing felony charges for trafficking in fentanyl (four grams or more) and possession of marijuana (over 20 grams), along with misdemeanor charges for possession of drug paraphernalia and operating a motor vehicle without a valid license.

A court date has been scheduled at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, according to jail records.