Joint task force rids streets of drugs and firearms

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly invited Historic City News to attend a press conference Friday morning with members of ATF, FDLE, Northeast Florida HIDTA, the Bunnell Police Department, the US Attorney’s Office, and State Attorney for the 7th Judicial Circuit, R. J. Larizza, to announce the outcome of Operation Heat Seeker.

With a mission to identify and arrest violent felons within the community that were dealing drugs and were known to be in possession of firearms, Operation Heat Seeker began in May.

“Ten felons with criminal histories dating back 35-years, totaling 342 previous charges and 92 previous convictions that range from burglary, to resisting arrest, to homicide, are now – or will soon be – in jail and off the streets of Flagler County,” Staley told local reporters.

Intelligence obtained during the operation led to the issuance of federal and state search warrants which were served at three Flagler County locations.

Operation Heat Seeker successfully seized marijuana, ecstasy pills, over two ounces of crack and powder cocaine. Staley said that where there are drugs, there are guns, and the operation also took seven firearms off the streets of Flagler County and out of the hands of convicted felons and drug dealers. The weapons ranged from a stolen AR-15 rifle and a shotgun to revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.

Prince R. Small Jr., Arthur L. Mobley Sr., and Terence J. Bennett have been arrested on state charges for sale of cocaine. Travis D. Johnson and Jason J. White have been arrested on federal charges for sale of cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

“We are actively looking for four people that are now fugitives,” Sheriff Staly said. “We are holding active warrants for the arrest of Johnnie D. Thomas Jr., Serome Bell, Jason Y. Dixon, and Gerald E. Smith. I suggest they turn themselves in because we will find them; and, if they run, they will just go to jail tired.”

One additional suspect is awaiting federal indictment for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

If you have any information on the locations of these violent felons, call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477). You can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.

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