13 arrested in weekend warrant roundup operation
A months-long investigation into drug activity in West Putnam County led to more than a dozen arrests over the weekend, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
The arrests were announced Monday morning and were done as a “warrant roundup” operation Friday in Putnam Hall, an area authorities said is known for drug sales and prostitution.
The sheriff’s office arrested and charged the following people:
– Michael Anthony Cliffin, 63, Putnam Hall – three counts of selling cocaine.
– Charles Edward Davis, 57, Melrose – two counts of selling cocaine, one count cocaine possession with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia.
– Raymond Farris, 59, Keystone Heights – two counts of selling cocaine.
– Jefford Levone Hayes, 51, Putnam Hall – selling cocaine.
– Bruce Wayne Lewis, 57, Melrose – selling cocaine, cocaine possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.
– Henry Owens Jr., 41, Melrose – two counts of selling cocaine.
– Denzell Randall, 27, Inerlachen – arrested on a warrant from Clay County.
– Karogers Randall, 69, Putnam Hall – driving with a suspended license and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.
– Herman Sanders Jr., 39, Hawthorne – possession of drug paraphernalia.
– Summer Strickland, 33, Starke – possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
– Debbie Tindall, 64, Keystone Heights – possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
– Jeffery Wilson, 30, Melrose – possession of drug paraphernalia.
– Brenda Wright, 67, Keystone Heights – possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Denzell Randall, who was arrested with Karogers Randall following a traffic stop, was not a subject of the investigation.
Col. Joe Wells said the investigation began late July after residents notified the sheriff’s office of drug activity in their neighborhoods.
Many of the details of the investigation were not released because it remains active, but Wells said many of the suspects were dealers selling small quantities of drugs.
“This was a case of dealers we targeted because of the impact they were having in the neighborhoods,” Wells said. “These were the dealers facilitating the drug sales in that neighborhood.
“They were drawing the criminal element into the area and operating basically what appeared to be open-air drug markets.”
According to a sheriff’s office news release, the arrests were made in different areas of Putnam Hall, including a wooded area off of Dukes Trail where drug activity usually occurred. Two vehicles were parked there by the time deputies arrived, and six suspects were arrested.
Davis was arrested on a warrant for selling cocaine, and authorities said they found crack cocaine in his possession during a search. Tindall and Wright, who were inside one of the vehicles, were said to have been smoking cocaine when deputies arrived, the sheriff’s office said.
Deputies said they found cocaine at the time of Lewis’ arrest.
At the time of the arrests, authorities said, they seized about 3 grams of cocaine, an oxycodone pill and half a pill of clonazepam.
Putnam Hall is located close to Alachua and Clay counties, and authorities believe dealers set up their operations in the area to attract customers from those counties. The long-term impact of the bust remains unclear.
“This made a pretty good statement,” he said. “You’re talking about 13 arrests in a short period of time, almost all of them drug-related. But it’ll be something we’ll have to keep a close eye on and continue to follow up.”
The 13 suspects were held at Putnam County Jail. Cliffin, Sanders, Tindall, Wilson and Wright were released on bond.