Law Enforcement news for Walton County-8/14/15

Special to The Sun

Driver exceeds 90 miles per hour on U.S. 98; arrested for meth

On Aug. 10  around 7 p.m., deputies were called to a domestic dispute in the area of Murphy’s Gas Station on U.S. Highway 98. As Deputy Allen Pullings was approaching the intersection of West Hewitt Road he pulled into the turn lane for Murphy’s Gas Station and observed a vehicle matching the description of those involved in the domestic violence incident.

The vehicle was facing north attempting to turn east onto U.S. 98. Deputy Pullings recognized the driver as Samantha Stuart, 37, from previous criminal incidents and encounters.

Pullings attempted to tell Stuart to pull over, but instead she pulled out onto Highway 98 heading eastbound driving estimated speeds of 90 miles an hour. Stuart began weaving in and out of traffic even when Deputy Pullings engaged his lights and sirens.

As Stuart approached C.R 30A west the vehicle made a rapid turn into the Exxon Gas Station at the intersection of C.R. 30A and U.S. Highway 98 West. Deputy Pullings observed the driver, Stuart, exit the vehicle and walk into the Exxon store even after being told to stop.

Deputy Kristin Pond and K9 “Kayne” were deployed to the scene. Kayne conducted a free air sniff and made a positive alert on the vehicle giving probable cause for a search. A blue canvas bag containing four syringes was discovered along with a gold Michael Kors make-up bag containing a red Frio bag. Inside the Frio bag was a clear plastic straw, which had methamphetamine inside it and two metal spoons.  

The passenger in the car, Charles Manza, 21, was handcuffed while deputies performed a “pat down” of his outer garments. During the search a marijuana pipe was discovered in Manza’s left front pocket. Further investigation revealed three additional pipe/smoking devices with burnt marijuana located in a black duffel bag inside the vehicle.  Post Miranda Manza admitted ownership of all four pipes.

Manza was charged with four counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. Stuart was charged on one count of reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, possession of methamphetamine, and four counts of drug paraphernalia.

Woman arrest after deputies find meth inside container of cleaning powder

A traffic stop led to the arrest of a DeFuniak Springs woman after deputies discovered drugs inside a container of Glade cleaning powder.

While WCSO Deputies patrolled State Highway 83 near the area of the Fairgrounds Monday afternoon they conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for speeding nearly 10 miles an hour over the posted speed limit. Deputy Phillip Kent made contact with the driver Courtney Hatfill and her passenger James Clifton Campbell.

K9 "Duko" and handler Sergeant Nick Bearden were dispatched to the scene. As Deputy Phillip was running Hatfill and Campbell’s information K9 Duko made a positive alert on the vehicle giving probable cause for a search.

Further investigation revealed a Glade Carpet and Room Odor Eliminator container, which was located in Hatfill’s purse. When the container was emptied Sergeant Nick Bearden located a contact case with a green lid, and an object taped together with electrical tape, and a blue pipe.

The container still contained Glade powder and it was evident this was used in an attempt to conceal the drugs and paraphernalia.

The contact case contained methamphetamine and the taped object revealed two empty syringes.

Hatfill was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia. She was transported to the Walton County Jail.

DeFuniak Springs man arrested 32 times in Florida

A Defuniak Springs man logged his 32nd arrest in Florida after a traffic stop Monday.

Walton County Sheriff's Office stopped 33-year-old Willie Goldsmith in the area of U.S. Highway 331 for driving on a suspended license, according to a press release.

During the stop, deputies Nick Bearden and Phillip Gaither searched the vehicle after a positive K9 alert and found a Red Bull can under the center console, which appeared to be unopened.

Bearden unscrewed the lid of the can and found 4.6 grams of ICE, a form of methamphetamine, and 5.3 grams of marijuana. Also inside the can was a stainless steel spoon with white crystal residue along with several small bags used to distribute drugs.

WCSO had probable cause to believe Goldsmith was intending to sell or distribute the drugs. He was arrested for possession of methamphetamines and intent to sell or distribute, marijuana distribution and possession of paraphernalia to transport drugs.

According to his arrest report, he has been unemployed since 2006.

This is Goldsmith's 32nd arrest in the state of Florida, according to the press release from the WCSO.

Other arresting agencies include Pensacola Police Department, Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, DeFuniak Springs Police Department, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and Walton County Sheriff's Office.

DeFuniak Springs Police investigate shooting

Officers with the DeFuniak Springs Police responded to Oakdale Garden Apartments Aug. 9 at approximately 1 p.m. in reference to shots fired. Officers arrived along with deputies from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office to find at least one bullet hole in the victim’s vehicle. The victim, 25-year-old Mark Thompson, reported that 18-year-old Jamerius Thorne began firing shots toward him from the woods nearby. At least one of the rounds struck Thompson’s vehicle. Witnesses reported that Thorne fired approximately five shots before leaving in a vehicle with his girlfriend.

Thompson stated that Thorne was angry with him from a previous disturbance and was retaliating. Thorne was located later that afternoon and brought to the Police Department for questioning. He was subsequently arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. Thorne was transported and booked into the Walton County Jail. Additional charges are pending.

Oakdale Garden Apartments houses multiple families, including children. Fortunately no one was injured during this incident.


Broken tail lights lead to dope arrest of DeFuniak Springs woman

A traffic stop for non-operationing tail-lights led to the arrest of a DeFuniak Springs woman this morning. Deputy Phillip Kent was responding to a reckless driver call in the area of U.S. Highway 331 North and Highway 90 around 10:30 a.m. when he spotted a green GMC pick-up truck at the corner of Black Bass Boulevard and Juniper Lake Road with no working tail-lights.

Deputy Kent made contact with the driver, 35-year-old Jessica Land, and asked for her driver's license, which she did not have. The deputy asked Land and her passenger to step out of the vehicle in efforts to gather their information since they did not have identification on them.

While running their information through dispatch, K9 Sergeant Nick Bearden conducted a free air sniff around the exterior of the GMC pickup with K9 Duko. While completing the free-air sniff, K-9 Duko alerted to the vehicle providing probable cause for a search.

“I have never seen that many syringes during one traffic stop,” said Deputy Phillip Kent.

Kent and Sergeant Bearden conducted a vehicle search locating approximately 20 syringes in Land's purse, a spoon with residue and several other needles located in a VHS movie box, and a Kroger ibuprofen bottle with a white powder substance that tested positive for cocaine. A small jewelers bag of a clear liquid was also found inside the vehicle and tested positive for methamphetamine.

Land was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, possession of cocaine, possession of narcotic equipment, and driving on a suspended license. Land was transported and booked into the Walton County Jail.