Traffic stop leads to drug and firearms arrest this weekend

St Johns County Deputy Aaron Holland conducted a traffic stop Friday night about 10:00 p.m. after he witnessed a vehicle run through a posted stop sign at the intersection of Gorda Bella Avenue and Cypress Road in the Southeast District.

According to a report received by Historic City News from the agency, the driver, 32-year-old Stephen Alexander Ricketts, who reportedly lives at 1154 Ardmore Street in Saint Augustine, produced his drivers license then reached under his seat.  The deputy ordered Ricketts from his vehicle and observed an open container of beer concealed in the door panel.

A K-9 unit conducted an exterior “sniff” of the vehicle then signaled the presence of illegal substances.  An inventory of the vehicle revealed 93-grams of marijuana, cocaine, drug paraphernalia, scales (commonly used to weigh drugs), as well as a loaded .45 caliber handgun and ammunition, according to the report.

Ricketts was also in possession of 6 different cell phones, hundreds of dollars in cash and a ledger book related to allegedly illicit activity.  On conducting an initial records check of the driver, it was learned that Ricketts is a convicted felon and is not permitted to possess a firearm or ammunition.

All contraband items were seized as evidence and Ricketts was arrested, charged with possession of a weapon or ammunition by convicted Florida felon, a second-degree felony, $5000.00; keeping a public nuisance structure for drug activity, a third-degree felony, $2500.00; marijuana possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a third-degree felony, $2500.00; cocaine possession, a third-degree felony, $2500.00; and drug equipment possession, manufacture, or delivery, a third-degree felony, $500.00.  He was transported to the St Johns County Detention Facility without incident and released Saturday afternoon, December 29, 2018 after posting $13,000.00 bond.

Also, on this weekend’s report of selected law enforcement incidents:

RESISTING-PROVIDING FALSE NAME: Deputies in the S.E. District responded to an auto parts store along US 1 South, regarding a female subject who was walking through the store attempting to sell a pair of shoes to customers. When deputies arrived, they were informed the female had left the store and jumped into their trash dumpster and was still inside. According to the report filed by Deputy R. Small, the female informed the deputy that she believed there were “good items” in the dumpster that had been thrown away. Upon existing the dumpster, deputies stated the subject refused to identify herself, and then fled on foot to a vehicle in the parking lot, where she locked herself inside the car. After several verbal commands to exit the car and identify herself, she cracked the window and dropped the keys outside of the car. The female eventually provided name for the deputies, however, no information came back on the person she reported to be. After a period, deputies used the keys to unlock the car and remove the subject. A scan of the subject’s fingerprints revealed the individual was wanted out of Volusia County for Motor Vehicle Theft, Burglary, and multiple counts of Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card. She was arrested for resisting the deputies while performing their duties, and providing false information, as well as, the outstanding warrants.

SHOPLIFTING BEER: A S.W. District Deputy responded to a report of a subject entering a store and walking out without paying for a case of beer. The agent of the store stated he was last seen near the ice machine at the store’s location. According to the report filed by Deputy N. Staggers, he observed a subject matching the description along the same road, but at a different store, who was placing a case of beer on the ground and walking away from it, as the deputy approached. The man stated to the deputy that he had been to the Circle K and got caught. The deputy also noted the man was showing signs of having already been consuming alcoholic beverages. The deputy also located a 4 pack of “tall boys”, in the man’s jacket pocket. The subject admitted to stealing the 12 pack of beer and also stated he took the 4 exiting from the same store. The subject was arrested for retail theft and taken to the SJC Jail without incident.

DRUGS-POSS OF ID’s and EBT CARDS: According to a report filed by Deputy P. Miranda, he observed a vehicle drifting over both the white and yellow lines of a traffic way in the S.W. District and conducted a traffic stop for the violations. While speaking with the occupants who were known to the deputy, and who consented to a search of the vehicle, deputies discovered several clear baggies containing a powdery substance, a black zippered case with additional baggies, and a “large chunk” of cocaine. Field testing revealed the substances to be Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Molly, as well as, Marijuana which was located sometime later. The subject admitted the substances were his and for his personal use, even though deputies found the quantity of the drugs, an amount of bundled cash, and the substance packaging to be more suited for sale. Deputies also discovered the subject was in possession of 3 other individuals Florida ID cards, 3 other persons EBT Cards, as well as, 4 other persons Credit/Debit Cards. The subject was arrested and take to the SJC Jail.

DWLS: After observing a vehicle failing to yield to other motorists, Deputy S. Miller conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle along SR 207, near I-95. After explaining the reason for the stop, the deputy asked for the driver’s license and accompanying paperwork, to which the driver stated he did not have it with him but provided a name. After running the name in the system, the deputy located a similar name, but not one that matched the information provided. Attempting to confirm the driver’s identity, the deputy asked the driver for his Social Security Number and the driver advised that he did not know it. After being detained, the driver corrected the information originally provided, which revealed the driver had 11 suspensions against his license, including multiple DUI suspensions, Habitual Traffic Violator status and 3 convictions for Driving on Suspended License. The subject also had suspension for obtaining a license by fraud, and other assorted violations. He was arrested and taken to the SJC Jail.

BURGLARY-THEFT OF FIREARM: According to a report filed by Deputy S. Sastre, a resident residing in the northwest district reported a burglary to their vehicle. The resident advised he believed his vehicle was locked but acknowledged it may not have been secured. A security system showed the suspect exit a dark colored pickup truck and approach the area where the car was parked. Within 30 seconds the suspect re-enters the video shot carrying a bag, which the resident stated contained a handgun from his vehicle. During the investigation, deputies were made aware of a dark-colored truck which was stolen from Jacksonville but had not yet been entered into the system when this event occurred. It is not confirmed if the two events are connected, but the activity fits the type of crimes we have been experiencing. ALWAYS remove firearms and keys from your cars and ENGAGE locks and alarms!

LEAVING SCENE OF A CRASH: Deputies in the northwest district were advised of a traffic crash through OnStar and responded to the area on Racetrack Road. Once there they found a Hummer H2, which had crashed into a tree. The driver, who was already court ordered to wear a GPS tracking device, fled the scene on foot and was discovered hiding in the woods. After tracking him with the device, the suspect was arrested for leaving the scene of the crash and taken to the SJC Jail.

DRIVE SAFELY: Deputies have been busy working traffic issues throughout the county, with 297 traffic stops being made in the past several days. 50 crashes have been worked and we have addressed some 44 reckless driver calls for service. DRIVE SAFE and SOBER, as units will be out looking for unsafe driving behaviors, as we begin a new year! PLAN ahead now should you decide to engage in festivities where intoxicants may be consumed.