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Flagler-Based Organized Crime Ring Ended As 6 Men Face Racketeering Charges

| July 6, 2011

From left, State Attorney R.J. Larizza, Flagler County Sheriff Don Fleming and the FDLE's Dominick Pape at this afternoon's bust annnouncement. (© FlaglerLive)

Most of the six names should be familiar local crime-trackers: Patrick Giovine, Ethan Gaboury and Grant Morse were all three arrested in July 2010 following a string of ATM burglaries in Flagler Beach and on Palm Coast Parkway. Giovine, in jail again since January, had been booked three times previously. Gaboury has been in jail since May. Ryan Giovine was jailed twice before, and was again jailed today, like Dave Downs, who today made his fifth trip to the Flagler County jail. James O’Brien doesn’t have a local jail record.

What that half dozen has in common is a criminal organization that burglarized ATMs, pharmacies and homes, stole vehicles and motorcycles and illegally sold narcotics, primarily in Flagler, Volusia and St. Johns, but with some operations in a couple of other counties, going back to 2008.

Wednesday afternoon, Flagler County Sheriff Don Fleming hosted a news conference announcing the organization’s bust. Morse, the alleged ring leader, like most others in the ring, has been in jail for a while. Morse is in federal prison in South Florida on separate charges.

The men now all face so-called RICO charges (after the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), each of which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail. The investigation started with relatively minor ATM thefts. The Sheriff’s Office’s crime suppression team went from there. “They went deeper, and they realized very quickly they had a major organization that needed to be targeted,” the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Dominick Pape said. Eventually the operation became the joint operation involving a half dozen agencies.

The crime spree touched some 100 victims in the three-county area. “This was a very experienced and organized group that used cell phones, surveillance of target locations and most critically, monitored police activity around those targeted zones,” Pape said. “This was not their first run at this. A very highly skilled, organized criminal group who wreaked havoc on these communities. All these individuals also have past criminal histories, so again it demonstrates that these are not just some local fly-by-night people, people just doing burglaries and robberies. A highly organized criminal group.”

Pape said the group also trafficked in prescription pills valued at about $1 million.

Fleming was flanked by Pape and State Attorney R.J. Larizza, and the walls of the room where the news conference was held were lined with innumerable members of various police task forces that contributed to the investigation.

Grant Morse

Racketeering charges are as complex to prosecute as they are to make stick. That will be the responsibility of Jason Lewis and Jenny Dunton at the State Attorney’s office. “It takes the prosecution working with law enforcement to come up with predicate acts and to put all that together so that we’re sure we can do a racketeering prosecution. It’s not like a simple grand theft, burglary, we have to get many different charges together, prove that all these folks were acting in concert with each other towards a common goal or a common purpose that they all benefited in some way from, and put it all together in a lengthy charging affidavit and charging document in order to make the racketeering case stick. The reason it’s important that we do that and the reason we like to do that in cases like this is because it enhances the penalties. These folks can get much more serious penalties than if you nickeled and dimed them on some of these grand theft charges.”

Fleming explained how the alleged racketeers worked. Three of the individuals committed pharmacy burglaries. They’d take the drugs back to Morse’s house “where,” Fleming said, “he would apportion them out, people would sell them and then bring the money back to Mr. Morse and he would divvy up the money between them.”

The suspects, the charges they face and the bond they’re being held on:

Grant Morse, 46, formerly of 27 Patrick Drive, Palm Coast. Currently incarcerated in federal prison in South Florida.
RICO (Racketeering Violation), $500,000
Conspiracy to Commit RICO, $500,000
Burglary, $100,000
Grand Theft, $100,000
Total: $1,200,000

Patrick Giovine, 21, of 49 Pepper Lane, Palm Coast, incarcerated in state prison.
RICO (Racketeering Violation), $500,000
Conspiracy to Commit RICO, $500,000
Burglary, $100,000
Grand Theft, $100,000
Total: $1,200,000

Dave Downs, 24, of 62 Brunning Lane, Palm Coast, arrested this morning.
RICO (Racketeering Violation), $500,000
Conspiracy to Commit RICO, $500,000
Burglary, $100,000
Grand Theft, $100,000
Total: $1,200,000

Ethan Gaboury, 20, of 233 Barker Road, East Wareham, Mass. Currently incarcerated in the Flagler County jail.
RICO (Racketeering Violation), $500,000
Conspiracy to Commit RICO $500,000
Burglary, $100,000
Grand Theft, $100,000
Total: $1,200,000

Ryan Giovine, 28, of 35A Bunkerview Drive, Palm Coast, arrested this morning.
RICO (Racketeering Violation), $500,000
Conspiracy to Commit RICO, $500,000
Total: $1,000,000

James O’Brien, 35, of Halifax Drive in Daytona Beach. Currently incarcerated at the Volusia County Jail.
RICO (Racketeering Violation), $500,000
Conspiracy to Commit RICO, $500,000
Total: $1,000,000

Crime Spree: Where and When Grant Morse, Patrick Giovine, James O'Brien and Ethan Gaboury Allegedly Struck, 2007-2010

DateAgencyCase No.LocationCrimeSuspects
Sept. 20, 2007Flagler County Sheriff's Office (FCSO)07-5602036 Paul Lane, Palm CoastBurglary to a residenceGrant Morse and Patrick Giovine
April 4, 2008Bunnell Police Department (BPD)08-2376706 E. Moody Blvd., Bunnell PharmacyBurglary to a pharmacyGrant Morse, Robert Bell, Ronald Gould
Jan. 30, 2009St. Johns County Sheriff's Office 09-11704075 A1A, St. AugustineBurglary to a pharmacyGrant Morse and James O'Brien
June 4, 2009FCSO09-3479825 Marina Point Place, Palm Coast Burglary to a condominiumGrant morse charged on July 5, 2010, for possession of stolen property from this case.
June 7, 2009FCSO09-34943Portuguese Club, 1200 Palm Harbor ParkwayBurglary to a businessGrant Morse, Patrick Giovine, Ethan Gaboury, David Downs
June 26, 2009FCSO09-39068Italian American Club, 45 Old Kings Road North, Palm CoastBurglary to a businessGrant Morse, Patrick Giovine, Ethan Gaboury, David Downs
Jan. 14, 2010FCSO10-30489 Pine Cone Drive, Palm CoastBurglary to a pharmacyGrant Morse, Patrick Giovine.
April 28, 2010Aventura Police Department01-10-240619501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura, Fla.Burglary to gym lockers and fraudGrant Morse and Kristopher Henriqson arrested and prosecuted federally.
April 28, 2010Aventura Police Department01-10-240319501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura, Fla.Vehicle burglaryGrant Morse and Kristopher Henriqson arrested and prosecuted federally.
May 13, 2010Volusia County Sheriff's Office10-160051298 John Anderson, Ormond BeachBurglary to a residence and car theftGrant Morse, Patrick Giovine and Ryan Giovine (motorcycles recovered).
May 24, 2010FCSO10-4230635 Princess Rd. Drive, Palm CoastBurglary to a residenceGrant Morse, Patrick Giovine.
May 28, 2010Daytona Beach Police Department10-11283968 Orange Ave., Daytona BeachBurglary to a pharmacyGrant Morse, Patrick Giovine, James O'Brien
June 1, 2010FCSO10-44909215 St. Joe PlazaBurglary to a businessGrant Morse, Patrick Giovine, David Downs
Source: Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

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8 Responses for “Flagler-Based Organized Crime Ring Ended As 6 Men Face Racketeering Charges”

  1. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Nice police work. All the more reason that Flagler Beach and Bunnell move police, fire and sanitation services to the county.

  2. NortonSmitty says:

    Brilliant sleuthing, Watson! I agree, LAC, this sophisticated group of arch criminals was tracked down and apprehended in only four or five years by our local Flagler County Interpol with support from the Florida FBI.

    OK, I just can’t do it. As much as you all know how I enjoy being a sarcastic, snarky smart-ass, I just can’t get it up after reading this story and most of all the Official Press Releases, so here goes:

    ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?. Organized crime ring? Prosecuted under the RICO federal statutes that were controversially used to bend the constitutional rights of defendants to take down the New York Mafia. It was created to triple the sentences of high-level crime lords that oversee vast criminal empires, now’ it’s unleashed on a group of loser redneck addicted losers like these assholes? All of them walking around broke, drunk and high in the short period they weren’t in jail, stealing petty shit like the Hobo’s of the thirties to get by, get drunk and feed their addictions finally catch the eye of the local Carbinari, who enlists the Redneck FBI (FDLE) to publicize this roundup of punk-ass petty thieves as if they were the inbred Palm Coast Gambino’s that they are proud enough to announce a JOINT TASK-FORCE NEWS CONFERENCE over? At the risk of being redundant, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!

    This proves my theory that the majority of crime we really have today, other than the pie-stealing shed robbing hobo bullshit we always had and always will have, is the white collar widespread big league billion dollar shit we all experience everyday from our banks, insurance, oil and cable companies. Instead of our Thin Blue Line going after thOSE GREEDY BASTARDS, we get distracted by horseshit like this. Be worried about$100k you lost on your 401k, not the guy that steals the stereo out of you car.

    How much of your tax dollars do you think was spent by the multi-agency task force that brought these Oxycontin Desperado’s to justice? Guaranteed it was more than has been spent statewide on Bank of America’s billion-dollar illegal home foreclosure scheme.

    My favorite lines from the Official Multi-Agency Task Force Press Release: “This was a very experienced and organized group that used cell phones, surveillance of target locations and most critically, monitored police activity around those targeted zones,” Translation: (On his Metro PCI $40/Month cell phone) “Hey Clem, my neighbor left his garage open an’ I don’t see no cops”.

    I feel so much safer now, and once again, RICO? YOU GOTTA’ BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!

  3. The Truth says:

    Imagine how much the taxpayers could have saved if this fine group of gentlemen would have burglarized a well protected, occupied citizen’s home back in ’09. Please support your local gun shops.

  4. ss mondex says:

    Patrick Geovine broke into my house on pepper lane back in 09. good work sheriff DON

  5. ss mondex says:

    And Mr. Morse drove by acouple days later asking me questions. Pure scum all of em.

  6. They were correct all along !

    Approximately one year ago when the ATM robbery story was first published on Flagler Live involving 3 of these defendants, relatives from two of the the defendants began leaving posts explaining that the real story was much larger than one ATM robbery.

    The larger issue centered around a career criminal who has a history of recruiting younger participants by exploiting their weakness & need for addictive pharmacy drugs.

    Now, one year later after law enforcement claims to have concluded an intensive two-year investigation involving tough interviews with many of the above listed defendants, comes the announcement that indeed the true story was much larger involving 4 pharmacy break-ins, residential & commercial thefts of cash, personal property, cars, & motorcycles.

    The real story was much larger than one ATM robbery !

    To some people, the application of RICO statues is viewed as an over-reaction however, I respectfully disagree. The goal here is to incarcerate as many of these six defendants as possible for a minimum of 30-40 years. The state of Florida is safer with these 6 defendants behind bars for a long, long time.

    The Attorney General’s office may be willing to cut deals with some of the lesser players if they testify against the top two leaders of this crime ring.

  7. Hsart says:

    I think Andy and Barney would have Caught these Chumps Sooner or Later with or without Otis! As far as them being “ORGINIZED” I would Venture to say NOT! More Like “STUPID” They may have Attempted to Think things out But Palm Coast just Cant seem to Produce MAFIA Qualified Personal: Case and Point, The “Calzone Cowboy” The “SNITCH” with a “SWITCH” Bottom Line is The PO/PO, Regardless of what Agency, Removed these Guys Our Streets and if they can Add Years to their Sentence without being Bias or Stacking Charges, Sorry About their Luck!! They will be Hearing “HeadCount” for Years to Come!! To the LawAbbiding Citizen; What the Hell Does this Story have ANYTHING to Do with Flagler Beach,s Fire or Sanitation Dept,s???????????? My Wife and I Live Here and are VERY Satisfied with BOTH, We Dont Need WasteMismanagement, Waste Ho, or the Who Knows how manny others the County has Gone through, and Our Fire Dept and Police Dept have the Backup of the County 24/7, You need to Read the Crime Blotter a Little More Often !!

  8. Ivan Paul says:

    Question: Where are the people now who were defending the primary suspect in this criminal case which started out as a singular crime known as the July 4th, 2010 ATM robbery ?

    Where is the person who was saying the primary defendant was a great man who had been wrongly accused. How can anyone be doing great things for the Palm Coast Community when they are involved with stealing from the Italian American Club & the Portuguese Club ?

    How can anyone who is thinking rationally actually believe it is appropriate to steal addictive medications from pharmacies and profit from illegal drug transactions at the street level ?

    The reasoning behind charging all six defendants under RICO statutes is because the prosecuting attorney’s office intends to apply strong leverage by turning 5 defendants against one person, primary defendant Grant Morse !

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