Monday, June 18, 2018

Stand-Off Ends in Tragedy

Luis Duran (photo from 2013)

June 18, 2018

On June 16, 2018 shortly after midnight, Levy County Deputies responded to 1951 SE 119 Avenue in Morriston, Florida to a domestic dispute. The caller told 911 dispatchers her husband pointed a gun at her during an argument.

Deputies arrived and spoke to the wife in the front yard of the home. She explained that her husband, Luis Duran (10-9-61), had been drinking at a local bar and when they returned home they began arguing. Luis Duran brandished a gun, pointed it at her and threatened to shoot her and then himself. She was able to escape from the home and call law enforcement.

Deputies attempted to negotiate with Duran, who had barricaded himself inside. He would not respond to PA announcements, phone calls or any request to surrender. The Tactical Response Unit (TRU) responded to the home and after hours of attempts to contact Duran decided to enter. TRU members were uncertain if Duran had already injured himself. Deputies on the scene were aware Duran had been arrested in 2013 for a very similar act during which he fired a gun. 

TRU members located Duran lying on his bed in the master bedroom. He was seen by law enforcement pointing a handgun at his own head. TRU members began speaking to him and ordering him to throw the gun away and surrender. Duran, after only 45 seconds of deputies talking to him, shot himself. Duran was immediately treated on scene by EMS who had staged nearby. He did not survive his injuries.

Sheriff McCallum said in today’s world the calls our deputies are responding to and the level of violence they have to confront is increasing at an alarming rate. This is extremely worrisome.  This situation should have had a different ending. Mr. Duran could have surrendered and allowed us to help him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Duran and their family in their time of need. The LCSO Victim Services Unit is working with the Duran family to ensure their needs are met. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Man Arrested for Tampering with Witness

June 15, 2018

Clarence White (10/11/67) from Chiefland was arrested on September 3, 2017 by the Chiefland Police Department for aggravated battery and simple battery. This arrest stemmed from an investigation that was conducted after the victim called the police department to report having an argument with White over money. The arrest report states White initially slapped the victim in the face then pulled a knife and stabbed the victim in the upper thigh. White was out on bond and confronted the victim at the Levy County Court House when he arrived for his scheduled court appearance on June 13, 2018.

The June 13th arrest report from the LCSO documents White approached the victim in the hall outside of the court room. White and the victim had a brief discussion and White handed the victim a note. The victim delivered the note to the Assistant State Attorney after reading it. The note contained instructions and a written statement the victim was to read before the court which essentially changed the testimony, absolving White of criminal wrongdoing. 

White gave a statement to the LCSO investigating deputy and admitted to delivering this note to the victim and asking for the testimony to be changed. White was arrested and booked into the Levy County Detention Facility and is charged with tampering with a witness. His bond had been set at $100,000.00.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Spotlight on Molly the K-9

Nicholas Galloway                 

Ronald Fowler

June 11, 2018

Deputy Gary Garboski and his K-9 partner Molly work the streets of Levy County searching for drugs being transported in vehicles. This past weekend was no exception. Molly depends on her partner to stop the cars, but finding drugs in a vehicle is all up to her. She does the hard work and then makes Deputy Garboski finish the paperwork.

Over this past weekend, Molly and Deputy Garboski made four drug arrests. Deputy Garboski conducted a traffic stop on Main Street in Chiefland. During the stop Molly gave Deputy Garboski her signal that she smelled drugs in the vehicle. Deputy Garboski arrested Ronald Fowler (2/22/89) for possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Christopher Lee (7/18/89), who was also in the same vehicle with Fowler, was found in possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and issued a Notice To Appear in court.

Deputy Garboski conducted a traffic stop on North Hathaway Avenue later in the evening in Bronson, and Molly found drugs in this vehicle, too. Nicholas Galloway (1/3/99) was arrested for possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Marie Blueford (10/1/98), a passenger in the vehicle, was issued a Notice To Appear in court for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff McCallum vowed his dedication to arresting those who choose to transport, use or sell narcotics in Levy County. He outfits his men and women with the best equipment available. Special K-9’s, like Molly, are invaluable tools which help combat the use of narcotics in our county. This weekend’s arrests are typical, and we will continue the fight, using every tool available.   

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Formal Charges Filed on Carlton J. Mathis

June 7, 2018

The Levy County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) formally filed charges on Carlton James Mathis (7-29-89) and booked him into jail. Mathis was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon after he received treatment for his injuries and was transported to the Levy County Detention Facility. Mathis is suspected in the death of an infant in Alabama and was also wanted for violating his probation on a prior burglary case in Georgia. Mathis was stopped by LCSO deputies and Alachua County Sheriff’s Office SWAT members Monday, June 4, 2018, at the Bronson Villas in a vehicle he was riding in with Otis Johnson, Amanda Oakes and a 14 year old girl. Mathis brandished a firearm when confronted by law enforcement which ultimately ending in him being shot. The child and a deputy sustained minor injuries from shrapnel during the shooting.  

Mathis has been charged with aggravated assault with a firearm with the intent to commit a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, child neglect, possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana. Both of these drugs were found on his person at the time he was shot and taken to the hospital. Mathis had his first appearance in Levy County this morning and his bond has been set at $650,000.00.

Additional charges were filed earlier today for trafficking in methamphetamines. This charge stems from a large stash of methamphetamine found in the vehicle on the evening he opposed law enforcement. Bond has not been set on this charge.

Mathis will be held at the Levy County Detention Facility until these charges have been answered for in a Levy County Court. He will then be extradited to Alabama to face the homicide charges awaiting him there.   

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Old Habits

June 6, 2018

On June 6, 2018, just after midnight, the Levy County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Tactical Response Unit (TRU) executed a search warrant at 329 South Main Street in Chiefland. Members of the LCSO Drug Task Force working in cooperation with the Chiefland Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) developed information during surveillance that Kevin “Chilly K” Edwards (9-21-76) was in possession of a substantial amount of illegal narcotics. 
TRU members experienced minor difficulties during the execution of the search warrant. During their attempts to breach the front door, TRU members found Edwards was seated on the floor bracing the door with his feet while his back was against the wall in to hinder them from gaining entry into the home. Entry was made and investigators located more than expected.

Edwards, his live-in girlfriend, Tafanesha Markman (12-12-81) along with 3 children, who were determined to be nieces/nephews to Edwards, were immediately detained. The search of the home by investigators discovered Edwards and Markman were in possession of 77.8 grams of crack cocaine, 27.4 grams of powder cocaine, 7.2 grams of MDMA (molly), 25 grams of marijuana, 12 Oxycodone pills without a prescription, a .22 caliber handgun, a .380 caliber handgun, ammunition for both weapons and a bullet proof vest. Some of these items were found lying in plain view and within easy reach of the children. 

Kevin Edwards has a lengthy history of violent felony and narcotic arrests, amassing over 52 charges beginning in 1995. Edwards has been convicted of eight felonies and incarcerated in the Florida Department of Corrections three times.

Edwards and Markman were arrested and transported to the Levy County Detention Facility. The children were released to their parents at the scene.

Edwards has been charged with:
·       Possession of cocaine with the intent to sell
·       Possession of marijuana with the intent to sell
·       Possession of a weapon/ammo by a convicted felon
·       Possession of a controlled substance without a prescription
·       Maintaining a drug dwelling
·       Trafficking in cocaine
·       Resisting law enforcement without violence
·       Possession of a synthetic narcotic with the intent to sell
·       Cruelty toward a child
·       Possession of a bullet proof vest during the commission of a felony
·       Possession of drug paraphernalia

Markman has been charged with:
·       Cruelty toward a child
·       Possession of cocaine with the intent to sell
·       Possession of marijuana with the intent to sell
·       Possession of a controlled substance without a prescription
·       Maintaining a drug dwelling
·       Trafficking in cocaine
·       Possession of drug paraphernalia
·       Possession of a synthetic narcotic with the intent to sell

Both Edwards and Markman are awaiting first appearance and bonds have not yet been set. Investigators are also contacting the Department of Children and Family services to follow up on the children found in the home during the search warrant to ensure their safety.