Drugs, weapons found at hawthorne house

Owner of Chesser Monroe Road property found four squatters in empty residents

HAWTHORNE — Authorities said a woman checking on family owned property on Chesser Monroe Road on Friday morning stumbled upon four young men believed to be squatting in the empty residence.

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Col. Joe Wells said the residence was not lived in “for quite some time” after the woman’s family member died.

“There is evidence the suspects had been staying at the residence,” Wells said.

Wells said the woman told deputies when she arrived at the home she saw a face in the window.

The woman called 911 and said four young men, possibly teenagers, ran from the home and one was armed with a shotgun.

Wells said a deputy responding to the area saw two of the suspects run into the wooded area.

Because the witness said she saw a gun, Wells said, a nearby Boy Scout camp was placed on lockdown.

“There are about 121 scouts on the camp property that are being housed in two buildings out of an abundance of caution,” Wells said.

Two sheriff’s office K-9 units were assisted with a K-9 unit from Alachua County Sheriff’s Office in an attempt to track the suspects. Helicopters from Alachua and St. Johns counties helped in the search, as well as deputies from Bradford and Clay counties and officers from the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Wells said one of the dogs found a child’s backpack near the residence with marijuana, pills, firearms, ammunition and cellphones.

The street value for the marijuana, Wells said, was about $3,000.

As the K-9 units tracked the suspects, a witness told deputies he saw the four suspects run through his yard, Wells said.

Wells said K-9s tracked a scent to an area with an abandoned vehicle and found a shotgun inside the car.

“Near the abandoned vehicle were numerous shoe prints and tire tracks that looked like someone made a u-turn,” Wells said.

Wells said the search was called off at about 2 p.m. after the tracks were found.

Palatka Daily News

1825 St. Johns Ave.
Palatka, FL 32177
(386) 312-5200


Follow Us on Facebook