Four people, including a former Escambia County deputy, have been arrested in a pair of local drug busts, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office announced during a press conference Friday.
The four arrests were at two different homes and are not connected, Sheriff David Morgan said at the press conference. In one bust, the Sheriff’s Office arrested Derricko Jamorris Leonard, 37, who investigators believe to be one of the area’s major cocaine distributors.
On Wednesday, the ECSO and partner agencies served a warrant at an apartment in the 7000 block of North 9th Avenue. Deputies allegedly found Leonard in possession of 1.5 kilograms of cocaine and two firearms.
“The amount of dope that he’s bringing in, a kilo of cocaine, he can easily turn that into a street value of $200,00 dollars,” Lt. Robert Quinata, of the ECSO Special Investigations Unit, said. “It’s huge. It’s massive. A lot of people were going to this individual, we suspect.”
The ECSO served a second warrant Wednesday in the 1000 block of Chandelle Lake Drive. The individuals in the home, Ronald David Greholver, 42, Kevin Michael McLemore, 29, and Gary Raymond Stadelmaier, 29, were taken into custody after deputies found suspected bath salts, several types of prescription medicine, hallucinogenic mushrooms, two guns and a pill press.
According to investigators, the pill press was used to shape bath salts — a catch-all phrase for a variety of oft-banned synthetic drugs — to resemble the prescription pill Xanax. Officials said by passing off bath salts (a relatively cheap drug) as Xanax (a much more expensive drug), the suspects were able to greatly increase their profits.
Still, those gains came at a significant safety risk to their alleged customers, according to Assistant State Attorney John Molchan.
“These pills that are homemade pills and drugs are extraordinarily dangerous because there is no quality control, and there is no indication as to what is in there,” Molchan said.
Morgan disclosed that McLemore was a former deputy who had resigned from the agency in 2014 while under an Internal Affairs investigation. Morgan said he could not discuss the nature of the investigation of McLemore, but Morgan said the state had reviewed McLemore’s case and permanently revoked his Florida law enforcement certification.
According to court records, McLemore pleaded no contest to criminal counts of marijuana possession and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. He was on probation at the time of his arrest, as well as in possession of a weapon despite his status as a convicted felon, officials said.
Molchan said if convicted, all of the individuals involved in the investigation would face minimum mandatory sentences ranging from three years to 25 years.
At the press conference, Molchan thanked the Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Customs, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the other agencies that assisted in the arrests for their hard work, promising his office would launch a “vigorous” prosecution of the four suspects.
“These individuals are certainly responsible for putting out a great deal of the controlled substances that plague Escambia County, and we’re going to finish off the job by making sure they’re incarcerated for lengthy periods of time,” Molchan said.
Kevin Robinson, email@example.com more
The In Hot Pursuit run scheduled for October 22, 2016 has been cancelled. The run is expected to be rescheduled to the Spring of 2017. Keep checking our Facebook and website for the exact date.read more
On Tuesday September 20th a resident of Pensacola received two awards from Sheriff David Morgan. Wesley Warrick, a 2016 graduate of West Florida High School, is a very active member of the Diamond View Neighborhood Watch. For the past 8 years, from the age of 10, he has assisted with patrols, attended regular meetings and helped with special events. On many occasions Wesley Warrick has spotted drug activity and other criminal acts in progress while on patrol with other Diamond View watch members. His information, which was communicated to dispatch, led to the arrest of a number of felons. Wesley Warrick has accumulated 455 hours of volunteer time and is thereby commended for his efforts on behalf of his community which have materially assisted in the safety and security of the Diamond View area. Wesley also was responsible for the name of the group and their logo saying: “Diamond View, we are watching out for you.”
A Letter of Commendation was presented as well as the designation of Honorary Deputy. Attending the ceremony were a number of citizens including his parents, members of the Diamond View Neighborhood Watch and others.
Defending champions, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office defeated the Pensacola Police Department by a score of 15-10 in the Guns and Hoses Tournament. Though a few raindrops tried to dampen the mood a large crowd responded to the event and a good time was had by all. The ECSO displayed a large incident command vehicle and the mounted unit appeared to the delight of the many children attending. There were a lot of free giveaways for those of you who attended the event. If you missed it, we do this every year. Hope to see you at Guns and Hoses in 2017!
By mutual agreement the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and the Police Benevolent Association, no negotiations will take place on Friday, September 16, 2016.read more