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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Man tosses drugs out car window while fleeing deputies

A 43-year-old Ocala man was arrested on multiple drug-related charges, including trafficking in fentanyl, after he led deputies on a brief high-speed chase in Marion County.

On Tuesday, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy observed a white sedan that was traveling southbound on SE Baseline Road in Ocala. As the vehicle approached the intersection of SE Maricamp Road, the driver made an improper lane change across two lanes that were marked with a solid white line, and the vehicle entered the inside turning lane, according to the arrest report.

The deputy conducted a traffic stop on the sedan in the 6000 block of SE Maricamp Road and made contact with the driver, identified in the report as Larry Donald Curtis, Jr.

Larry Donald Curtis, Jr.
Larry Donald Curtis, Jr.

In the report, the deputy noted that “the odor of burnt marijuana” was coming from inside the vehicle. Two additional deputies arrived on scene to assist with the traffic stop, and Curtis was instructed to exit the vehicle so a search could be conducted. Curtis refused to follow the deputies’ instructions, and he proceeded to “put the vehicle in drive” and fled from the traffic stop.

Curtis traveled eastbound on SE Maricamp at a high rate of speed in an attempt to evade the deputies. When Curtis reached the 6800 block of SE Maricamp Road, he stopped his vehicle and was detained in handcuffs, according to the MCSO report.

A deputy and K-9 partner searched the area of the initial traffic stop. The MCSO report stated that a purple Crown Royal bag and orange pill bottle were found in the grass along the side of the road, approximately 70 yards from the location of the traffic stop. The recovered items were dry and did not have any dew on them, and fresh tire tracks were visible near the items.

The purple Crown Royal bag contained a clear bag filled with blue pills, another clear bag filled with orange pills, and a bank receipt showing the last four digits of a debit card. The orange pill bottle contained a white rock-like substance, according to the MCSO report.

The interior of Curtis’ vehicle was searched, and the following items were recovered: three burnt marijuana cigarettes by the gear shifter, a cut silver cigar package containing a white powdery residue between the driver’s seat and center console, and a receipt from “Rodeway Inn Silver Springs.”

According to the MCSO report, the sheriff’s office contacted Rodeway Inn to follow up on the receipt, and an employee confirmed that Curtis’ debit card had been used for the payment. The last four digits of Curtis’ card matched the last four digits that were shown on the bank receipt that had been found inside the purple Crown Royal bag.

The blue pills that were recovered later field-tested positive for fentanyl and weighed 26 grams. The orange pills field-tested positive for MDMA and weighed six grams. The white rock-like substance from the orange pill bottle weighed four grams and field-tested positive for cocaine, according to the MCSO report.

In addition, the white powdery residue from the cigar package field-tested positive for cocaine, and the substance within the burnt cigarettes field-tested positive for marijuana.

Curtis was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held on $39,000 bond. He is facing felony charges for fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer, trafficking in fentanyl, possession of cocaine, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, and possessing a vehicle known to traffic drugs.

Curtis is also facing misdemeanor charges for resisting an officer without violence, possession of marijuana (20 grams or less), and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.