Interlachen FL; Following a five-month-long undercover investigation conducted by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Drug and Vice Unit, a search warrant has been executed. The SWAT and Rifle Security Teams executed the search warrant early this morning at 103 Geneve Street. During the investigation, undercover detectives purchased narcotic medications from Howard Smith who resides at the home. The search of the residence revealed a recently expended Methamphetamine cook, narcotic medications, various chemicals and items used to produce and ingest narcotics and three firearms. Six subjects were located at the home this morning when deputies served the warrant.
Smith was charged with the sale and distribution of a Schedule II Controlled Substance and the manufacture of methamphetamine. Patrick Parler was in possession of a 22-caliber handgun and William Shannon was in possession of two shotguns. Parler and Shannon are convicted felons; both were charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. John Bishop was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
Putnam County Animal Control Officers assisted with aggressive dogs located on the property. Two aggressive dogs were tranquilized and handed over to Animal Control.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office, Putnam County Fire and Rescue and FWC are on the scene of a minor incident involving a small aircraft. The incident occurred on the river along the 1100 block of County Road 309, near the Renegades Resort. This is in the Fruitland area in southern Putnam County. The small aircraft, which is designed for water landings, landed on the river as intended and then began taking on water. The single occupant of the aircraft is not injured and was removed from the aircraft by boat. This is not considered a plane crash. Floats were attached to the plane to keep it afloat and the plane is being towed back to the Mount Royal Airpark, which is about two miles south of where the incident occurred. A US Coast Guard aircraft happened to be in the area and assisted until rescue vessels arrived. The initial reports that a Coast Guard plane had gone down in the river were not accurate.
Putnam County, FL; Forty-three-year-old Freddie Lee Thomas Jr was arrested during a traffic stop conducted by Putnam County Sheriff’s Office deputies and narcotics detectives on Monday afternoon. Thomas was stopped in the 200 block of Highway 17 North and was initially cited for driving on a revoked driver’s license. During the course of the traffic stop, a Palatka Police Department canine alerted to the presence of narcotics from within the vehicle. Deputies and detectives seized a loaded .357 caliber revolver, ammunition, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, Morphine, Oxycontin, Alprazolam and currency from within the vehicle. A search of Thomas’ clothing revealed a small amount of marijuana and powder cocaine hidden in his socks.
Thomas is a nine-time convicted felon, having previously been convicted of cocaine distribution, burglary and felony driver’s license violations. Thomas was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, trafficking in Opium derivative, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, felony driving while license revoked and possession of marijuana.
Thomas is currently incarcerated in the Putnam County Jail without bond.
Putnam County, FL; Putnam County Sheriff’s Deputies are investigating a trespassing incident that occurred at the residence of Sheriff Jeff Hardy. At approximately 7:00 AM this morning Sheriff Hardy was inside his residence preparing to depart for the office when he heard a vehicle horn blowing and his wife screaming in his front yard. Sheriff Hardy armed himself with his agency handgun and ran outside to check on his wife. The Sheriff discovered a male subject screaming, acting erratically and attempting to bypass the security gate. The subject was on the Sheriff’s property. Sheriff Hardy identified himself, told the subject he was armed and ordered the subject away from his private property. The subject complied and the Sheriff was not forced to aim his weapon or take any further action.
Sheriff Hardy then assigned deputies to follow-up with the individual in an attempt to ascertain his reasoning for entering the property and to see if he needed any assistance. As of this release, deputies have been unable to speak with the subject, but have spoken to his family members who stated that he had calmed down and was in no need of immediate assistance.
The individual involved, had previously called the Sheriff’s Office at 3:13 AM this morning to report a speeding vehicle. Deputies were dispatched to conduct an investigation into the complaint. While deputies were searching the area for the speeding vehicle, the individual called the Sheriff’s Office again and stated that he was armed with a gun and was wearing ear muffs. The deputies cleared the speeding vehicle complaint after a forty minute investigation.
Law Enforcement officers are forced to keep their residences and families secure. Citizens are cautioned against trespassing on the private property of law enforcement officers and are encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office to have a deputy respond to any situation in which they need assistance.
Palatka, FL: Members of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Group, including the SWAT and Rifle Security Teams, executed a narcotics related search early Friday morning. Deputies served the warrant at 121 Gaskin Road, in Palatka, following a three-month investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit. During the investigation, detectives determined that James Williams was a poly-drug dealer, meaning that he was dealing in multiple forms of narcotics. Detectives located three adult males and one adult female on the property, including Williams and Angela Gaskin. During the search of the residence, detectives seized approximately twenty-seven grams of cocaine, nine grams of crystal methamphetamine, thirty-two doses of prescription narcotics, an expended methamphetamine cook and several items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The seized drugs have a street value of approximately $4,500.00. Because the investigation revealed information suggesting that Williams buried the proceeds of illegal drug sales in the yard, metal detectors and ground-penetrating radar was used to search for hidden money. No buried money was discovered.
Detectives arrested Williams and charged him with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of opium derivative with intent to distribute and manufacture of methamphetamine. He is incarcerated in the Putnam County jail on a bond of $40,000.00. Gaskin is being held without bond after detectives charged her with possession of cocaine and violation of probation. Gaskin is on probation for a previous drug arrest.