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Tri-County Drug Sweep Nets 57 Arrests, 20 in Flagler, But Many Back On the Streets Swiftly

| May 28, 2014

Some of the Flagler County suspects arrested in today's sweep. From lef, Cecil Hubbert, Sloane Book, Jessica Bomford and Chad Blunt.

Some of the Flagler County suspects arrested in today’s sweep. From lef, Cecil Hubbert, Sloane Book, Jessica Bomford and Chad Blunt.

Once or twice a year, the “North Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Tri-County Narcotics Task Force”–which groups narcotics investigators from Flagler, St. Johns and Putnam counties–stages a high-profile sweep, issuing dozens of warrants and making numerous arrests. The latest such sweep was conducted today in the three counties, netting 103 warrants and 57 arrests, including 20 in Flagler County.

Flagler arrests took place in Palm Coast, Flagler Beach and Bunnell. Almost all the arrests involve individuals who have been booked at the county jail before.

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Dubbed “Operation Safe Summer,” the five-month investigation targeted Northeast Florida street-level drug dealers–that is, lower-level drug dealers rather than organizational dealers or local kingpins. As with previous such sweeps, the arrests followed controlled buys of narcotics by undercover agents. The goal, officials said Wednesday afternoon, was to arrest suspects ahead of summer break and ostensibly getting the dealers off the streets. But if history is any guide, many of those arrested today will be released on bail.

For example, Lori Hays, 48, of 4730 Mahogany Blvd. in Bunnell (the Mondex), was booked at the Flagler county jail before 8 a.m. today and charged with the sale of a schedule II substance. By afternoon, she’d been released after posting bail on $10,000 bond. Same story with Margaret Rockwell, 29, of 51 Belleaire Drive in Palm Coast: she was charged with marijuana sale, booked in early morning and released on bond. Or take Cecil Hubbert, Jr., 44, of 409 S. Chapel St. in Bunnell. County jailers know him well. He’s been booked 19 times in the past seven years, the last time before today just four days ago, on a domestic battery charge, and before that in January, on a felony battery charge. He posted bail both times. He is now charged with the sale of a Schedule II substance. He’s being held on $25,000 bond.

Chad Blunt, 41, of 17 Pine Crest Lane in Palm Coast, was arrested on a charge of selling cocaine and a probation violation. He had last been arrested just last month on a failure to appear charge, violation. Was last arrested in April on a failure to appear charge, and had similar arrests in 2013 and 2012. For now he remains in jail on $20,000 bond on the cocaine charge and no bond on the probation violation. Beverly Diggs, 48, of 72 Brockton Lane in Palm Coast, was charged with cocaine sale and is being held on $10,000 bond. But she was booked twice last month and once in January, and has been booked a total of seven times before today (shoplifting, grad theft, disorderly intoxication, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon).

A closer look at the numbers also shows that some of the individuals arrested were not swept up today, but were arrested previously and included in today’s tally. That’s the case with Mitchell Griffin, 40, who was arrested in April and charged with three counts of selling a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.
He’s been arrested four times since 2010.

And on go the examples of today’s arrests.

Previous high-profile busts were announced in orchestrated news conferences at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, usually in the presence of R.J. Larizza, the State Attorney. Today’s announcement was made at a news conference at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, in the presence of many members of the task force and Flagler Sheriff Jim Manfre. “We appreciate the opportunity to participate with this tri-county warrant sweep,” he said. “The combined efforts of all involved are
fundamental to getting these criminals off our streets.”

The entire operation cost all agencies involved less than $5,000, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office stated in a release. Many of the suspects arrested are considered habitual drug offenders. Drugs purchased during the undercover operation included prescription pills, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, and marijuana. Specific numbers such as the amounts of drugs seized or their value were not released.

“The investigators were able to purchase intoxicants that are widely considered gateway drugs, especially with our youth, as well as designer, cocaine and heavy narcotics,” St Johns Sheriff David B. Shoar said. “The totality of this operation should create a vacuum in supply for a period of time. Our hope is that some of the abusers of these substances will seek treatment, instead of a new dealer in the coming days.”


Law enforcement officials often refer to marijuana as a “gateway drug,” though that assessment has been discredited. By gateway, they mean that users of the drug are likely to move on to other, stronger drugs. But marijuana users overwhelmingly either stick with marijuana or don’t move on to other drugs. Marijuana has also been legalized in one form or another in almost half the states. The Legislature in Florida this spring legalized some uses of marijuana in certain medical circumstances, and a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana appears on this November’s election ballot.

The Tri-County Task Force is made up of members from Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Palatka Police Department, St. Augustine Beach Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Arrests in Flagler County:

Lomack Bennett, 26, 4 Red Top Lane, Palm Coast.

Chad Blunt, 41, 17 Pine Crest Lane, Palm Coast; sale of cocaine, probation violation. Was last arrested in April on a failuer to appear charge.

Jessica Bomford, 40, 7 Pier Lane, Palm Coast; charged with sale of hydropmorphone, held on $25,000 bond. Was last arrested on an identical charge last year and a shoplifting charge, also in 2013.

Sloane Book, 25, of Palm Coast, charged with cocaine possession, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. Was last booked in 2009 on a probation violation charge.

Richard Brown, 29, 410 South Central Avenue, Flagler Beach, charged with marijuana possession, more than 20 grams, cocaine possession and drug paraphernalia possession. Held on $5,500 bond.

Beverly Diggs, 48, 72 Brockton Lane, Palm Coast, charged with cocaine sale. Held on $10,000 bond. Was booked at the Flagler County jail seven times previously, including twice last month and once in January.

Robert Frantz, 44, 4519 Walnut Avenue, Bunnell, charged with the sale of a schedule II substance. Was last jailed last year on a trespassing charge, and in 2008 on a failure to appear charge.

Mitchell Griffin, 40, of 502 S. Moore St., Bunnell. Booked in April on a possession of drug paraphernalia charge and selling a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.

Lori Hays, 48, 4730 Mahogany Blvd., Bunnell, charged with the sale of a schedule II substance, released after posting bail on $10,000 bond.

Cecil Hubbert, Jr., 44, 409 S. Chapel St., Bunnell, charged with the sale of a Schedule II substance, held on $25,000 bail. He’s been booked at the jail 19 times since 2008.

Capers McClendon, 20, of 1103 Lincoln Street in Bunnell, charged with cocaine possession within 1,000 feet of a church. He’s been booked 15 times since 2008.

Vincent Pacifico, 24, 9 Evansmill Lane, Palm Coast, charged with cocaine sale, held on $10,000 bond.

John Rapicka, 42, 14 Beachway Drive, Palm Coast. Charges haven’t posted yet.

Jaron Robinson, 18, of Ryan Drive, Palm Coast, charged with cocaine sale, held on $10,000 bond.

Margaret Rockwell, 29, of 51 Belleaire Drive, Palm Coast, charged with marijuana sale, released on bond.

Bruce Scott, 55, 36 Penn Manor Lane in Palm Coast, charged with sale of a schedule II substance, released on bond.

Kimberly Scott, 45, 36 Penn Manor Lane in Palm Coast, charged with sale of a schedule II substance, released on bond.

Amanda Trombocco, no information available.

Chancey Watson, 30, of 45 Sederholm Path, Palm Coast, charged with cocaine possession with intent to sell, held on $100,000 bond. Was last booked last May on a probation violation charge.

Wayne Williams, 45, of 501 S. Cherry Street, Bunnell, charged with cocaine possession with intent to sell, held on $25,000 bond. Booked six times since 2009.

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24 Responses for “Tri-County Drug Sweep Nets 57 Arrests, 20 in Flagler, But Many Back On the Streets Swiftly”

  1. Gia says:

    “fundamental to getting these criminals off our streets.”….the police are doing their job but it’s just another fucking joke from the justice. It’s a money talk, they are back on the streets.

    • Annonymous says:

      “Criminal”?
      Have you ever drove over the speed limit?
      Driven after one or two drinks?

      Everyone has committed a crime at some point in life some get caught others do not but the word criminal is quite harsh unless a person is habitual, stealing or hurting others;

    • Annonymous says:

      I was arrested in this sweep and can honestly say there is no way that I ever did anything even close to what charged with. Also arrested a day before the warrant issued.
      Again I am not saying I didnt do something I did like many do. I honestly have done nothing and know that my charges will definitely be dropped. It was nothing more than the popo trying to get information from peoples friends based on hunches or desires to get certain people whether guilty or not.

      • A.S.F. says:

        @Annonymous says–If the comments you have written about yourself are true, you are wasting time and energy trying to justify yourself and whatever it is that you are involved in. Please get yourself to an AA/NA meeting and hook up with people who might be able to point you in a more positive direction. You have a lot more to lose than you seem to realize. PS–It really doesn’t matter what other people do. Your life will be most effected by what YOU choose to do.

  2. Genie says:

    What’s the point? You hold a press conference to pat yourselves on the back and then release them back on the streets. What’s the point? It’s about the revenue, isn’t it? Florida doesn’t give a damn about prosecuting drug dealers who prey on the misery of others.

    Somebody please tell me what the point is. They are back dealing drugs hours later.

    • Nancy N. says:

      “Florida doesn’t give a damn about prosecuting drug dealers who prey on the misery of others.”

      You’re kidding, right? You do realize that Florida has some of the stiffest drug laws in the nation, right? At this very moment, there are nearly FORTY THOUSAND people locked up in the state Department of Corrections for drug crimes.

  3. A.S.F. says:

    If I was a police officer, risking my neck to make arrests like this for the public good, I’d be pretty frustrated seeing these people back on the streets again in no time at all, and on such low bond amounts. Nice to know that their illegal acts entitle them to get out of jail quickly in the event that they get caught. Anyone with a history of failure to appear or violation of probation/parole should not be offered the opportunity to bail out at all. They have already demonstrated their risk potential and shown, by their actions, how much they think the law applies to them.

  4. ryan says:

    A lot of cocaine dealers. That is truly a dangerous drug, and so are the people who usually sell it. That usually funds dog fighting as well, as we saw in the bust outside Orlando earlier today. Gang activity has to end in our communities. It endangers our neighborhoods and causes racism.

  5. Hah-Rumpfffffff! says:

    I do believe some of these folks have had their mug shots in the media in the past. What do these folks do for a living? Aside from sell substances? I mean, what employer would keep an employee who keeps getting busted?

  6. happening now says:

    Persons arrested don’t have income, so sell drugs . So HOW DOES THIS ILLEGAL SUBSTANCE ABUSE GET HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE???? I-95 goes both ways:,stops in Flagler County. Hard to catch. We are just one of many making the central point of drug dealers rich. If they only knew there is no happy ending for the ones involved ,,, only a rap sheet, fines, and ruined reputation, over some plant or pill.. Sad , very sad.

  7. Anonymous says:

    When arrestted they’re let go with a slap on wrist and a promise not to do it again.. Boy does that make me feel good.. I’m so relieved they won’t do if again..

  8. Genie says:

    Maybe time to shop for a new DA? Several good points made here. If fine is only slap on the wrist, this will be a haven for drug dealers. It is likely police don’t usually make these arrests but they too must feel, what’s the point? All that paperwork and then he/she back on the street.

    This is not justice.

  9. Ed says:

    I believe they might have court dates set. Not like they pay a small fee and go free.

  10. Rose Pezza says:

    Just a waste of tax payers money. If they are caught selling they should not get bail.

  11. Repeat That says:

    @ Genie, Haven’t you heard some of the old State Attorneys in this county either resigned or were demoted or quit about two months ago. Look at the increase in bonds, and habitual offenders being sent up the river. Cross reference myfcso and the doc sites and see for yourself

  12. ryan says:

    These gang members that pollute our communities should have to live in fear of their lives, not have people come to their aid anymore.

  13. anon says:

    Was this gang related? I didn’t see anything about that. but anyway, is there someone forcing people to buy drugs or do they make these purchases willingly?

    • ryan says:

      Cocaine dealing is gang related 99% of the time. Please spare us the BS about going after the user and not the dealer. I know it may be hard for you to grasp, but focus on the criminals bringing it to our community.

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