Ten weeks ago Joshua LeMaster, a 25-year-old felon, sex offender and Palm Coast resident with no fixed address, was shot in murky circumstances at a garage off Hargrove Grade, the industrial spur off U.S. 1 in Palm Coast. He claimed assault. His alleged assailant claimed self-defense. Neither was arrested. LeMaster was hospitalized.
Earlier this month, LeMaster allegedly agreed to meet someone he thought was a customer near the Circle K on Old Kings Road–not far from the Econolodge–and sold him vaporizer cartridges and THC oil, a marijuana extract. The customer was actually an informant for the sheriff’s office.
On Thursday, a search warrant secured, sheriff’s deputies, including members of the DWAT team, descended on Room 108 at the Econolodge and searched the place, finding TCH, and in a Minnie Mouse tote bag, many clear plastic bags commonly used in drug transactions, and nearly 300 grams of pot. LeMaster was there. He denied owning any of the items found in the room.
“During a post Miranda interview with Jackie LeMaster,” Joshua’s 56-year-old father, “he admitted that he assisted Joshua in selling the cannabis that was in the room,” according to his arrest report. “Jackie further stated that Joshua facilitates the sale of cannabis and Jackie only helps package and sell the cannabis because of Joshua’s health conditions. Jackie also stated that an unknown male drops off large quantities of cannabis approximately once every three weeks.” He said he and his son sell pot on average to three customers per day.
Joshua LeMaster and his father, whose address was listed as being at the Econolodge as well, were both arrested. They were both charged with selling pot within 1,000 feet of a convenience business, making the charge a second-degree felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Joshua was also charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Jackie posted bail on $5,500 bond. Joshua remains at the Flagler County jail on $46,000 bond, and no bond on his probation violation arrest.
When he was 20, LeMaster was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious battery–or statutory rape–of a 14-year-old girl, a second degree felony. He pleaded to lewd and lascivious conduct and was sentenced to a year in jail, by which time he’d already served it, and five years’ probation. He started living at different hotels and motels then, especially at the Econolodge. He “works sporadically for his father’s masonry business and other side jobs, but is not employed full time,” a probation violation report found in January. He’d been arrested and charged with hashish possession near the Econolodge, but the charge was soon dropped.
“This guy has been on our radar for a long time and this just goes to show you that we’ll find you wherever you are, even in a hotel room,” said Sheriff Rick Staly who, of course, could not resist one of his favorite puns in the circumstances, using his nickname for the county jail: “Now he has a new room at the Green Roof Inn.” He called on the justice system to hold LeMaster “accountable for his actions for his continuous criminal activity and sends him to prison for a long time. He’s had enough opportunities to turn his life around and refuses.”