MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – An undercover drug operation in Clay County led to the arrests of 26 people, who were under investigation for several months, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office.
As of Friday afternoon, five people were still being sought in "Operation Sheriff's Office Blend," which also involved the Orange Park and Green Cove Springs police departments, Sheriff Darryl Daniels announced.
"You got options," Daniels said. "You can stop what you're doing, leave Clay County or we're coming to get you."
The Sheriff's Office set up a command center outside the Kangaroo gas station near County Road 218 and Mimosa Avenue in Middleburg.
Just after 4 a.m. Wednesday, Daniels said, various teams began serving 44 warrants throughout Clay County. The sheriff said 21 of the 24 people suspected of dealing illegal narcotics were arrested on warrants, while the other two were arrested on probable cause.
Those arrested are facing various drug charges, ranging from trafficking heroin to the sale and delivery of cocaine, meth, marijuana and fentanyl.
Daniels said taking those people off the streets and putting them in jail not only stopped them from selling dangerous narcotics, it also saved lives of people who could have overdosed.
"If we prevented the sale of heroin or fentanyl that would have potentially killed someone, the potential is out there that we did save a life," he said.
News4Jax spoke with a woman, who wished to remain anonymous, who was inside a home on Stonebridge Drive in Orange Park when it was raided. She said her friend's boyfriend who had been staying in her home was led out in handcuffs.
"There were probably 30 officers all together for just one suspect," the woman said. "They told me they had a warrant for his arrest for two sell charges."
She said something needed to be done to get drugs off the streets.
"Drugs are ruining the community and just young people's lives," she said. "They become addicts and just ruin their lives."
A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, was not surprised deputies showed up, saying there had been a lot of suspicious activity.
“There’s been a lot of interesting people in and out at all times of the night," he said.
Chief Lane McKinney, with the Sheriff's Office, had a message for other dealers who have not been captured.
“Get out of our county or we’re coming for you, and we’re going to put you in jail," McKinney said. "We’re going to seek the highest sentence we can get and we’re going to make it unattractive for you to peddle your wares here in Clay County."
Wednesday's operation was just the first wave. Chief McKinney said more operations will be carried out in the coming days.
Below are some of the individuals confirmed arrested as part of the sting, many of whom had narcotics convictions on their records:
- Amy Marie Akers, 41, possession with intent to distribute cocaine
- Anthony Michael Boyle, 37, sale and delivery of narcotics, marijuana possession
- John Dallas Brant, 22, sale of methamphetamine
- Christopher E. Cam, 26, cocaine possession
- Andrew Jon Carney, 40, trafficking in methamphetamine, marijuana possession
- Vanessa Dirusso, 45, distribution of cocaine
- Coy Lee Franklin, 26, sale and delivery of methamphetamine
- Joe Louis Frazier, 48, distribution of cocaine
- Arthur Lee Johnson, 70, distribution of cocaine
- Leonard Bernard Johnson, 65, distribution of cocaine
- Earnest Steve Knight, 52, distribution of heroin, distribution of hallucinogen, delivery of methamphetamine
- Jose Maldonado, 25, sale and delivery of narcotics
- Bryanna Nicole Moore, 19, sale and delivery of narcotics
- Sean William Roach, 44, sale and delivery of narcotics
- Glenn Gary Stanton, 55, possession of methamphetamine, sale and delivery of narcotics, marijuana possession
- Kenya Lasha Williams, 39, manufacturing cocaine, distribution of cocaine
- William Hickox, 36, sale and delivery of narcotics
- Todd Bolick, 38, sale and delivery of narcotics
- Erwin Marshall, 38, sale and delivery of narcotics
Deputies said they're still searching for the following five people, who are wanted on charges of sale and distribution of narcotics:
- Andrew Carney, 23
- David Childers, 18
- Marcus Coleman, 33
- Aubrey Lumpkin, 42
- Justin Ervin, 30
During a news conference Wednesday evening, Daniels said they're especially concerned about Ervin because he's threatened to commit suicide by cop.
"“If anyone knows this young man, I would encourage them to intervene on behalf of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and discourage him from taking those actions, from putting the men and women of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in danger where they’re going to have to act with the use of deadly force," the sheriff said.
Daniels said anonymous tips are what led to the investigation, and he encouraged community members to send in more tips.
"I hope they catch them all and do what they got to do with them," Clay County resident Jason Smith said. "Put them in jail."