Three years ago the pot bust was at 15 Wheatfield Drive in Palm Coast, where the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s Narcotics Unit and the Florida Department Law Enforcement, after a tip, uncovered a grow house with some 48 marijuana plants. Jorge Rodriguez, 61 at the time, was found guilty of marijuana cultivation, a third-degree felony, and sentenced to three years’ probation in April 2013. Just 13 months later, his probation was terminated.
On Monday, the bust was a few doors down, at a nondescript duplex at 91B Wheatfield Drive, where 21-year-old Daniel Epler, who’d made his name as an offensive lineman for Flagler Palm Coast High School (2012 MVP in that category), was arrested on a charge of pot possession with intent to sell.
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tri-County Narcotics Task Force and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, including members of the SWAT team, seized 23 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $76,000 (or a little over $200 an ounce, according to the sheriff’s office), a semi-automatic pistol and $9,130 in cash during the execution of a search warrant on Monday evening.
Epler was not alone in the house, but he alone was arrested after agents asked him which of the bedrooms in the house belonged to him. There, they found three large cardboard boxes containing gallon-sized vacuum sealed bags filled with marijuana, various additional quantities of pot in clear plastic bags (according to his arrest report), a vacuum sealer, a Cobra .380 handgun and ammunition, the cash, and a quantity of shipping labels cut from cardboard boxes.
Epler declined to answer questions about the items, requesting a lawyer instead.
Sgt. Jason Neat, a detective with the sheriff’s office, field-tested the pot and confirmed its nature. Pot is legal for recreational and medical use in Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska, and it’s legal for medical uses in 21 states and the District of Columbia. Delaware recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, replacing a criminal penalty with a civil fine. Marijuana laws remain harsh in Florida, however, where a constitutional amendment proposal to legalize its medical uses failed by a narrow margin in 2012. And arrests for marijuana possession in whatever amounts remain frequent in Flagler County.
A news release issued by the sheriff’s office Tuesday evening notes that the Cobra was determined to have been reported stolen by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Epler was booked at the Flagler County jail on one count of possession of pot with intent to sell. He posted bail on $10,000 bond and was released.
No offense, but, I don’t care. Am I supposed to be all happy that pot was the issue here? Pot, safer than our legalized alcohol. What would be impressive is if your efforts focused on real drugs like heroin or other opioids. Or perhaps putting the funding and energy into getting addicts into obscenely priced rehabs; then I would be all kinds of happy & impressed.
FYI; spare me the gateway argument….you can’t tell me pot is the gateway without addressing alcohol that is readily available in many homes.
He’s already out of jail, what’s the point? He’ll get probation. They need to come down harder on drug arrests.
What a ridiculous waste of resources. Seriously, this nonsense has to stop. It’s a PLANT, it is not a DRUG.
$10k bond? I’m sure he’s a already back in business.
Agree with Kathy. We have a major epidemic going on with pills, heroine, etc. in this town. People committing real crimes just to get their next fix. They should be more focused on that. Pot is definitely not a gateway drug. I know people that have smoked it for years and years. In fact they are very successful and you wouldn’t even know they did it unless you were told. In fact you would be surprised at the number of population that does actually do it and just can’t admit it because it’s illegal. I’m so over the b.s. and lies about pot. Alcohol is worse than pot. I never see any pot related accidents, deaths, etc. I also don’t see people robbing and stealing for a “pot fix”. Now this guy’s life and record are ruined over a natural plant that heals people in so many ways. Such a shame!
happening now says
From here on out, until election time, this and more is going to happen. Law enforcement has the absolute power to arrest regardless of what anyone else thinks. Florida needs to get very aggressive the ways and means of distribution …… Bad drugs in Florida coming from everywhere. The mixture of these causing over doses, and death. Pot busts are a sure thing.
Panama Red says
Kid looks like that kid on Pawn Stars. Back in the sixties I would drive down to Tijuana Mexico with some older friends and pick up kilo’s of Acapulco Gold for next to nothing. Drive back to Arizona and hit the colleges. I was only 16 but had a good business sense to me…..Ah, what ever happen to the good old sixties and the Hippie movement ?
real Flagler says
Ok, all that say it’s good please answer!!!!!! How many of you weed heads are making $76,000.00 a year? And how many of you believe that it’s only being sold to person 18 & older like alcohol to 21 years or older? So if everyone in the community sold marijuana and we all profit $100,000.00 a year we could all go to college and there be no reason for welfare, food stamps, low income housing ect….. And how’d you brainiacs miss that he lives in a dawn duplex???????? Why does he need a gun? Was they worried about the rest of you breaking in to rob them of their plants hahahaha. Yeah now we’re on the same page, or hello just move your asses where it’s legal problem solved RIGHT!!!!!!
If recreational use of marijuana was legal this never would have happened… and there would be 1 less need for a gun on the streets.
Rick G says
If the recreational use of marijuana was legal this never would have happened. Waste of resources. And there would have been 1 less need for a semi automatic pistol on the streets.
Legalization will put the grow-houses and smugglers out of business, and
bring in some fresh tax dollars for our elected officials to squander as they wish.
I say we criminalize St. Augustine grass and all other varieties.
This way we don’t have to mow the damned grass.
So you see, I’m against “grass” – the lawn variety….
Maybe we can do this to protect the water table that’s becoming more and more
polluted from lawn fertilizer and pesticide runoff.
A Cobra .380 and 9k in cash?
I can understand better if it was $9.00 in cash.
Quite the incongruous combo…..
You display a Cobra .380 and your adversary may just double over in laughter.
Samuel L. Bronkowitz says
LEO, they need to come down harder on police that break the law.
Enjoy it while it last law enforcement. Get your kicks busting lowly pot dealers because come 2016 it will be legal.
The funny thing is i know some guys in the FCPD. I went to school with them, and they smoked their fair share of pot. I hate cops sometimes.
A stolen gun in his possession? I guess that’s okay, he just has a little weed, no problem, he’s a great guy.
Kathy makes a good argument, i guarantee it would be a lot different If her children were ‘potheads” then she would be screaming ‘why didn’t anybody do anything”!
I don’t care about the weed. He may get probation for the weed but the IRS will probably be looking into some untaxed income.
Pot busts are a waste of time and resources. They must stop. Calling someone a “pothead” and insinuating anyone would react differently if it was their own child misses the point. Pot is not a dangerous drug. Alcohol certainly is. Do your children drink?
waste of time and money.
Real “Idiot” Flagler says what weed head earns $76k per year? Lol, my husband and I make 3 times that amount and have been weed heads for decades. The real danger lies with the physicians handing out free narcotics to unsuspecting patients for the big pharma payout bonus, they become dependent and have more documented deaths both young and old than any weed could ever do!
happening now says
I am going to just say this, even 10 years ago and 20, the general opinion of one with pot for recreational use was serious offence, and reaction from public Lock them up and throw away the key!!!!! Interesting how the thought process has evolved , to medical and tolerance. Wouldn’t it be great if it all turned around like that? Not hard drugs, War.
Let’s hear it for Flagler’s finest – good job in enforcing the law guys. To all you weedheads and and critics saying that this is a waste of resources – this is the LAW and the FCSD is enforcing it just like they are being paid to do. If you don/t like the laws, then change them.
Samuel L. Bronkowitz says
It’s against the law for an unmarried man and woman to live together in Florida, and it’s also against the law to have oral sex. Fsco should be out there enforcing those laws too, because they’re laws right?
common sense says
Point blank, until (if and when) it is legal or decriminalized it is an arrest-able offense. Until then, the larger drug cartels are responsible for getting the majority of this to our community’s. That dear misguided ones is the ‘facts and nothing but the facts’. And it’s purely coincidental that the likes of this one that just so happened to have a stolen firearm in his possession, but right… total waste of time.
pissed off resident says
lol the same srgt neat searched my car without a warrant or probable cause.. the same srgt neat who put my life in risk to rat out pill junkies and higherups over a .5 nug of weed. fuck him and all of flagler county sherrifs and fficers. fuck volusia as well. i stil smoke. shit i smoke hella amounts of weed but you wont see any pillls any alcohol any lsd shroomies or syrup in my possesion let alone my system. who the fuck cares about weed being an issue? the people who are catching a profit off of arresting inoocent people over a plant. the more arrest we have the more we have sitting in a cell. that turns over big bucks right there. did you know that it is approximatley 70$ for an “investagation” fuck them fuck all pigs all they do is uphold THEIR rights. they dont give a damn about anyone else. shit thats why they are rude and just horrible to the youth. but to the older people they are nice and respectful? fuck that and fuck them
Shit is real. Real fucked up. The fcso uses there “authority ” to be extremely disrespectful to the youth, putting the youths lives at risk just so they can get a tip over a little bit of weed. Like pissed off resident said over a .5 of weed. They use the youth to do there own damn job and don’t care about the consequences. Fuck that. Legalize the weed. Cops stop bein assholes your job is to protect and serve, not harass and disrespect. And as for “weed heads making $76000 a year, I make more than that and have smoked my whole life and has never been an issue. I can’t believe how ignorant people are. Yea he got caught with a gun and weed and cash. If it was legal he would be a successful business man instead of being labeled a criminal. All these other states that are legalizing it, potshops are booming and investors everywhere are investing. Turn your head if you want, it will become legal very soon. New revolution in the works and is for the best. Legalize the plant God created so it can be used like it’s meant to.
Victim's Gf says
This happens to be my boyfriend and We appreciate all somewhat positive comments on here. He really is a very good person, very quiet and kind hearted. And for the people with the hating comments 🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼.
You left out one important fact regarding your boyfriend Maam – “He really is a very good person, very quiet and kind hearted” maybe – but he also broke the law and that makes him a criminal.
Peter Wentworth says
Folks, if you really do think pot busts are a waste of resources, try participating in the legalization efforts in Florida. – Here’s a good start: https://www.mpp.org/states/florida/
Complaining about things in the comments section of Flagler Live is great fun, but sadly accomplishes nothing.