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Friday, June 2, 2023

Ocala man jailed after officer finds over 250 grams of fentanyl in duffel bag

A 47-year-old Ocala man who was caught trespassing at a local gas station was arrested by the Ocala Police Department after an officer found over 250 grams of fentanyl inside his duffel bag.

On Thursday, February 16, an OPD officer responded to the RaceTrac gas station located at 3040 S Pine Avenue in reference to a trespassing incident. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with a cashier who advised that a man, later identified as Jonathan Andrew Roberts, had trespassed at the convenience store, according to the OPD report.

Jonathan Andrew Roberts
Jonathan Andrew Roberts

The officer approached a man outside the convenience store who verbally identified himself as Roberts. He was carrying a duffel bag and claimed that he was unaware that he had been trespassed from the incident location.

Roberts told the officer that he had been staying at multiple motels with his girlfriend. He claimed that his girlfriend had “come into money” recently, and nearly half of that money had been spent on a Nissan pickup truck and “living in motels,” according to the OPD report.

The officer noted in the report that a records check of Roberts revealed that a trespass warning had been issued to him. The officer detained Roberts in handcuffs and escorted him to a marked patrol car.

Shortly after the officer opened the back passenger door of the patrol car, Roberts began to reach into one of his pockets. The officer noted in the report that Roberts was observed holding a white baggie filled with a white powdery substance in his right hand.

The officer attempted to grab the baggie, but Roberts made a tight fist and the officer was unable to retrieve it. According to the OPD report, the officer pushed Roberts into the back passenger compartment, and the officer observed Roberts’ jaw “motioning up and down as if he was eating something.”

Due to those motions, the officer escorted Roberts to the ground in an attempt to prevent him from “destroying potential evidence.” While on the ground, the officer made several unsuccessful attempts to open Roberts’ mouth. Since he had potentially swallowed the evidence, paramedics were requested, and they transported Roberts to a local hospital, according to the OPD report.

Roberts initially claimed that he did not swallow anything. Once at the hospital, Roberts told medical staff that he had swallowed fentanyl. While he was being transferred to a hospital room, he was overheard stating something to the effect of, “I have a high tolerance for swallowing that much,” according to the OPD report.

The officer conducted a search of Roberts’ duffel bag. The OPD report stated that a coffee thermos was found inside the duffel bag. When the officer opened the lid, a white powdery substance was observed inside the thermos as well as inside a grocery bag.

The officer responded to the hospital and asked Roberts about the thermos and the white powdery substance that had been located inside his duffel bag. Roberts claimed that he “did not know what it was.” He further claimed that another man had been staying with him at a local motel, and some of the contents inside the duffel bag belonged to that man, according to the OPD report.

The officer noted in the report that the white powdery substance field-tested positive for fentanyl. The weight of the substance was 258.5 grams, and the officer’s supervisor notified drug agents due to the large quantity. The drug agents also tested the white powdery substance and received a positive reading for the presence of fentanyl.

Roberts was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held on $57,000 bond. He is facing felony charges for trafficking in fentanyl (258.5 grams) and tampering with evidence, along with misdemeanor charges for resisting a law enforcement officer without violence and trespassing after warning.

A court date has been scheduled at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 28, according to jail records.