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.”
R. S. says
Maybe the best route to take is to make marijuana legal for recreational purposes and sell it cheaply in legitimate businesses with taxes withheld and product safety assured. That would put anyone trying to make a living off illegitimate business out of business.
The Econolodge has long since become something other than a reputable hotel. The property needs to be surveilled and cleaned up or closed down.
All of the visitors to these cheap joints should be checked out through the hotel registration records periodically if there is a suspect activity
Concerned Citizen says
Great job getting two more druggies off the street.
Now to address Econo Lodge. This property is a haven for drug use and other unreputable activities. And the management is completly aware and condones it. That makes them partially responsible and totally complicit. I was in a situation last year where I was in between leases and had to stay there. I stayed one night when I realized what was going on. And got the hell out ASAP.
I hope the SO will continue to put surveillance on this hotel. It’s not just one room trust me on that. And it’s not just tennants involved either. Maybe detectives should start interviewing management and staff. Put pressure on them and call the city to lean on their licensing. Why not keep patrol cars running thru on a regular basis? There are ways to deal with busniesses like this.
Thats been my take all along. If its known by FCSO to be what all say it to be make it a difficult place to support nefarious activity. Set a Cruiser and Deputy in the lot and be visible Patrol whatever. WTG
Hogan & Hogan says
They were both charged with selling pot within 1,000 feet of a convenience business…… What’s next, selling Gummy Bears within 1000 feet of a traffic light ? They make this crap up just to SCAM more money out of the seller for the police and courts. Plus it gives them an excuse to take away their Rights like the 2nd Amendment among others. Their just as BAD as the pot seller. Maybe more with corruption in Law Enforcement and the Court system. Just LEGALIZE POT and end this BULLSH*T !!!
Wow,😯😯😯im speechless a marjuana bust.such a fine job by fcso.so pleased floridians tax dollars are being waisted on a drug that isn’t even a drug.all the overdoses in flagler County and prescription pills being sold and these clowns are busting guys selling pot🤦♂️Staley is a joke and only after the publicity he gains from flagler live and his petty busts.he needs too be stripped of his sheriff title n just retire too golfing and passing of natural causes.tired of seeing tax dollars and man hours waisted on crap
Hey Joe that was a real asshole comment you made about sheriff Staley. The sheriff and all the men and women at FCSO has been doing a great job. Sometimes you need to bust the small guys to get to the big time drug dealers.
Trust me, they won’t be getting to anyone above this guy. And weed? You can drive less than a mile to Trulieve and buy the same. Ridiculous waste of tax dollars. Meth, coke and esp pills are rampant in the area, nothing done about that. And 1000 feet from a convenience store? I work in the legal field and had no idea this was even a law -schools, parks and church, yes but a convenient store? Drug deals go down at this Circle K daily. I go there daily bc near my house and I’ve seen numerous drug deals, too many to count, over 20 years.
Hard to even believe this. Other articles say the mom was arrested too, tho she was NOT. So either crappy reporters or police have no clue. Can literally drive to Trulieve -about a mile from this Circle K, and buy marijuana. I have my MMJ license so I do visit them. But I see drug deals in that lot too. But I guess TL actually pays to be here, so let that go?
And Circle K has been a notorious drug spot for over 20 years. Yet nothing investigated
Sorry but not impressed police got 1/2 pound of marijuana off the streets. Go after the pills, which are very much prevalent here in Florida, despite pill mills closed.