Flagler County sheriff’s deputies arrested seven people, served new charges on an eighth individual who was already in jail, and were seeking 10 more in a sweep focusing on alleged felon drug offenders, all of them accused of selling or trafficking drugs, including heroin, fentanyl, prescription drugs, cocaine and synthetic cathinone, or so-called bath salts, a relatively new entrant in the bazaar of drug dealing and abuse.
The arrests and warrants, conducted by the agency’s Special Investigations Unit, are the result of year-long operations that involved many undercover buys. In two cases, the suspects were believed to be dealing drugs at the homeless camp behind the Flagler County Public Library on Palm Coast Parkway, and were themselves homeless there. In another, a woman was believed to be sending mail laced with drugs to a sentenced inmate at the Flagler Jail. The operation over the past year netted the seizure of drugs valued at $15,000.
The operation underscores the changing nature of drug dealing and consumption, with heroin now having made a decisive come-back, according to Steve Brandt, the chief of detectives, with the combination of heroin and fentanyl continuing to cause overdoses in Flagler almost on a routine, daily basis (deputies used Narcan, used to restore a person;s breathing after experiencing an overdose, twice Monday alone), and with prescription drugs continuing to course through dealers’ hands.
Fourteen of those arrested or facing charges face the charge of unlawfully using a communication device, a third-degree felony. That means the individuals may have used a cell phone or texted as part of their suspected dealing.
“Selling drugs in Flagler County is one way to get our attention,” Sheriff Rick Staly told reporters in the county courthouse’s jury assembly room early this afternoon–the room the sheriff now uses as a makeshift location for events that would normally have taken place at his Sheriff’s Operations Center, which was evacuated last June because of suspected sick-building issues. Detectives, he said, “did a fantastic job on following up on all the leads in getting these poison peddlers off the streets.” Some of those leads were the result of residents following through on the “see something say something” initiative by notifying deputies of what they suspected was drug activity in their neighborhood.
Staly joined deputies starting before dawn this morning to round up suspects. Deputies, he said, “were compassionate but firm. Any time you knock on someone’s door early in the morning you never know what you’re going to encounter. I was on the scene of one arrest where the son of one of our arrestees actually ca,me to the door with a knife in his hands, and came within a very close distance of our deputies. Our deputies handled it phenomenally. Other agencies might have had a very different outcome. That’s just one of many encounters we had this morning.”
One of the more unusual cases involved some nine pieces of incoming mail intercepted by staff at the jail facility. The mail was addressed to George Wood, the felon 17 times over who was sentenced in two separate cases to 10 years and to 15 years in prison last year, and was transferred to state prison on Nov. 20. The letters were intercepted between March 20 and April 13, 2018. Evidence was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab, where analysts confirmed that the narcotic suboxone had been concealed in the envelopes’ seals. The lab also confirmed that the mail was allegedly sent by Samantha Bovino, a 26-year-old former Flagler Beach resident who’d spent a week at the jail in 2016 on a probation violation.
Bovino was still being sought today on charges of introducing contraband in an inmate facility, a felony. (She is no relation to Flagler Sheriff’s Chief Paul Bovino.)
Two other cases the sheriff noted were those of Tony Lanning and Gina Howard, both of whom had previous arrest records, both of whom had been homeless and living in the homeless camp behind the library. Howard, 23, was charged with selling heroin within 1,000 feet of a place where children gather, and Lanning was arrested on suboxone possession and selling a controlled substance.
Brandt said that while prescription drug trafficking is won due to the enforcement that began a few years ago, heroin continues to make a comeback/ “I would say it’s on the rise” in Flagler as in the rest of the nation, “to a point–not as extreme as other communities.”
The agency works its drug-trafficking cases throughout the year. We don;t always make an immediate arrest because we’re trying to work our way up to the higher dealers and see where it will take us,” the sheriff said. “It takes time to make these cases. We just felt that at this point we were ready to make these arrests. I will tell you that this is not the only operation that we’re doing, and that if you are a drug dealer in Flagler County and we didn’t get you this time, you’d better keep looking over your shoulder because we’ll get you the next time.”
The sheriff’s Office, frequently in cooperation with other regional and state agencies, periodically conducts this sort of sweeping drug arrests, with suspects ending up at the jail only to bail our shortly afterward, many of them as if through a revolving door. Notably though, while a third of those arrested or sought today had serious prior records and a third had minor records, the sheriff said a third of the individuals are what he called “a new generation” of suspected dealers.
The search for the remaining suspects continues. If anyone has information on the location of the fugitives not yet arrested, the sheriff’s office is asking for tips to be called into Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477). You may be eligible for a reward up to $5,000. You may also send tips to [email protected] or by calling the sheriff’s office at 386-313-4911.
The sheriff’s office provided the following list of suspects involved in today’s sweep:
1. Montana Altomare; Sale of Synthetic Cathinone and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device.
2. Cody Bassett; Sale of a Substance in Lieu of a Controlled Substance
3. Jeffrey Blanchard; Sale of Cocaine (x2) and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device.
4. Samantha Bovino; Introduction of Contraband into the Inmate Facility
5. De’Vantell Cooper; Sale of Oxycodone and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device.
6. Reginald Darboux; Sale of Cocaine (Arrested 3/27/2019)
7. Victor Dove III; Sale of Oxycodone and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device.
8. Lawrence Evans; Sale of Heroin and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device.
9. Rondal Gibson; Sale of THC Oil and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device.
10. Gina Howard; Sale of Heroin within 1000 feet of a Public Park and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device. (Arrested 3/27/2019)
11. Brandon Iasimone; Sale of THC Oil within 1000 feet of a Church and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device.
12. Steven Janvrin; Sale of Meth and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device.
13. Tony Lanning; Sale Synthetic Cathinone within 1000 feet of a Public Park. (Arrested 3/27/2019)
14. Daniel Leto; Sale of Cannabis within 1000 feet of a Public Park and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device. (Arrested 3/27/2019)
15. Jaclyne McCort; Trafficking Oxycodone and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device. (Arrested 3/27/2019)
16. Marcus Roller; Sale of Cannabis and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device.
17. Anthony Savone; Sale of Cannabis and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device. (Arrested 3/27/2019)
18. Bryan Vernon; Sale of Cocaine and Unlawful Use of a Communication Device. (Arrested 3/27/2019)
Amazing how a homeless person can afford hard drugs when they can’t afford clothes, food, a new box etc…Humm!
Good job! Why couldn’t our previous two Sheriff’s do this? There were constant complaints about this and neither could be bothered.
Jim albnos says
Wow great job on catching kids who sell weed and homeless people and not real drug dealers
A lot of time spent busting $15,000 worth of drugs after a year.
Wow we should all feel a lot safer now. Not. It’s not like the Flagler County sheriff’s deputies have now made a dent in the War on Drugs, nor have they ever, nor will they ever. We the People continue to win this War on Drugs. The Flagler County sheriff’s deputies continue to be on the losing side in this War on Drugs. Thank God for drug dealers. Every joint, bowl, or bong you have ever smoke, you should be very thankful for drug dealers putting their lives on the line for us every day. We need a National Drug Dealer Appreciation Day! Maybe Flagler county can grow up, act like adults, and stop this ridiculous tax dollar wasting nonsense. Adults want to and will continue to desire, obtain, and use drugs. And you catch like .0000001%. Nice work. LOL!
JOE SCHMO says
if someone is issued narcan and is arrested, the cost of the narcan should be paid at the time they make bail instead of us all paying.
So the ones arrested at the “homeless camp” are they going to be allowed to go back there ?
Kudos to Sheriff Staly and FCSO.
Is election time coming soon. Deputy Dog sure has his mug in a lot of articles and papers lately . I’m cracking up over this article. These drug users combined didn’t have enough drugs to get a skeeter high . For Christ sakes, they act like they busted El Chappo and the Mexican Sinola Drug Cartel. Hey Deputy Dog, you really want to do something heroic , go down to El Paso and help our boys keep the MASS INVASION of drug mules from braking thru our America’s border.
Wow, that’s a lot of complaining. Maybe you are all too young to understand that one drug dealer house can ruin the peace (and value) of the whole block. Their customers don’t care about your safety and drive upwards of 60mph to pick up or drop off. Noise and traffic all hours of the night. On our formerly pristine block we recently had a drive by shooting over a drug deal gone bad. Threatening and intimidating the neighbors goes on. And you want a drug dealer day. They dont care if you live or overdose. But pot will do that to you – make you think you know everything… like it’s okay to deal heroin by the library. Maybe those are your own aspirations? Good job Sheriff Staly! Get ’em all!
@ Layla, perhaps you weren’t paying attention during Fleming’s tenure as Sheriff… Quite a few drug busts were conducted and the first RICO act case against Bloods gang members that were reeking havoc in this county at the time.
You are correct though as far as Manfre. With no law enforcement experience whatsoever, he ran the agency not really knowing how and it wasn’t good for our county.
they sell out of the vacant lots too. In every section. its prostitution drugs underage as well. every leo should have a thermal imager. its amazing what you will see. try the E section with golf course. just sayin
Jim Albnos I agree with you all I see are a bunch of addicts getting drugs from the real dealers are not homeless are not poor they are driving Nice cars and keep beating the system arresting Addicts is NOT SOLVING the problem My QUESTION to sheriff’s office and states Attorneys office why you harder on the Addicts and let the REAL DRUG DEALERS ARE THE ONES YOU CAUGHT WITH ALL THE DRUGS and you keep doing addicts dirty DO I NEED TO SPELL OUT THEIR NAMES
All I see is a bunch of addicts the REAL dealers are not homeless they drive nice cars and laughing all they way to the bank HINT THE REAL DEALERS HERE YOU CAUGHT WITH A SHIT LOAD OF DRUGS MORE THEN ONCE AND YOU KEEP LETTING THEM OFF
@Right: You are correct, however I was referring to the constant sale of drugs at the Library. This may not seem like something of great magnitude for most, but the previous two Sheriffs refused to tackle this particular problem.
People should be able to feel safe using a Library. The complaints about the homeless and drug dealing at the Library are not new, but now we have a Sheriff who is listening and doing something about it. For that, many are grateful.
I believe that heroin ,coke ,meth and oxy’s ARE hard drugs and applaud our sheriff department for arresting these lowlifes, and hope that he arrests many more. Some people on this forum wont be happy no matter what he does.Go sheriff Staly,he is a modern day Buford Pusser, if you dont know who he is ,google it.
We need to end this war on drugs. These are just a bunch of low level addicts supporting their habit. Go after the real dealers not these petty criminals. What a waste of resources.
Pot… Really your patting yourselves on the back because you caught a few pot oil dealers, bravo you complete waist of tax payer money.
Haha Hawkeye, I don’t have to google Buford Pusser. I grew up there at the time. You’ve watched too many Hollywood movies. Pusser was nothing but a bully. He was a greedy asshole who wanted more and more of “his” share from the drugs, illegal alcohol and the prostitution. He was a womanizing adulterer and many of the residents will tell you HE was responsible for his wife’s untimely death.
Go up to McNairy county and do some real research instead of believing the Hollywood bullshit. Ask the old timers there what kind of man the “Walking Tall” hero was.
Hopefully Staley doesn’t compare to Pusser… all Staley wants is to be Wyatt Earp and in reality he’s Barney Fife.
Anthony Fennick’s Mom 💙 says
Heck yeah!!! Now this something to be proud of! 💙 Thank you to all of the DETECTIVES and all the DEPUTIES who got these POSs off the streets! These individuals only care about making some quick money while killing our children and then moving on to the next. These are the type of individuals who do not even deserve a trial or anything.. straight to DOC and not let them back anywhere around our children and our families. I feel they’re just as bad a murderers.. because this is what they are.. by killing our children and destroying families with a smile in their face. 💙💙
@Anthony Fennick’s Mom How quickly we forget, I guess. Until tried & convicted by a Judge & Jury these are simply arrests…hopefully clean arrests at that…we’ll see.
Jim b you may have got me on that one ,I was going by the original walking tall with Joe Don Baker,didnt watch any of the rest of them, lets just say that I like the fictional Bufford Pusser and compare sheriff Staly to him.Either way I am glad for these arrests.