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WCSO DRAFTS LETTER TO PARENTS BEFORE START OF HIGH SCHOOL SPRING BREAK

spring-break-letterFor Immediate Release

February 17, 2017

Walton County, Fla— Spring break is right around the corner and Walton County Sheriff’s Office has a message for parents of high school students visiting the Emerald Coast.

The last three years WCSO’s total arrests during college and high school spring break have declined. However, the amount of juvenile arrests has increased. Over the last several years WCSO has seen a large growth in the amount of unsupervised juveniles in areas along County Highway 30a during spring break. As a result, WCSO has drafted a letter and sent it out to the Department of Education in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.

“The letter is an effort to inform parents of our enforcement policies during their trip to Walton County,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson.

Deputies with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office will continue to enforce a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for individuals caught underage drinking or any other illegal behavior during their stay.

The letter asks that parents DO NOT leave juvenile children unsupervised for long periods of time. It also encourages parents to make sure they can contact them if they are separated in effort to better serve their son or daughter should they need assistance.

WCSO is excited for the season and we hope you enjoy your stay on our beautiful beaches. We just ask that you do so safely and responsibly.

high-school-spring-break-letter

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CRIME STOPPERS WEEKLY WANTED

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is currently seeking information on the following subjects wanted out of our jurisdiction;

William Alfred Pearson– White male, 52 YOA, 6’02”, 170 lbs., Red hair, Blue eyes.  This subject is wanted on 2 Felony arrest warrants for Counterfeit Bank Bill or Note, Theft over $300.00 less  than $5,000.00 X2, and Uttering a Forged Instrument.   He was last seen in Walton County Florida.

Willie Maurice Floyd– Black male,35 YOA, 6’01”, Black hair, Brown eyes.   This subject is wanted on a  Felony Arrest Warrant for the charges of Coordinating w/others to commit Retail Theft over $3000.00 and Possession of an Anti- Shoplifting Control Device Counter Measure.   He was last seen in Walton County Florida.

 

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FIVE SENTENCED IN DRUG TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY

PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA – Five defendants were sentenced today on drug and firearm-related crimes, as well as conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.  The sentences were announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

The defendants and sentences are as follows:

  • Thomas Zachary Breeding, 33, of Panama City, Florida, 72 months in prison;
  • Benjamin Bailey McGraw, 37, of Smyrna, Georgia, 180 months;
  • Jeremy Patrick Hubbard, 32, of Panama City Beach, Florida, 96 months;
  • Richard Kenneth Helms Jr., 43, of Panama City Beach, 48 months; and
  • Jessica Renee Ashbaker, 32, of Panama City Beach, 12 months.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, the defendants pled guilty to the following charges:

  • Possession of a firearm as a convicted felon: Breeding and Hubbard;
  • Possession with intent to distribute the controlled substance alprazolam: McGraw;
  • Possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking: McGraw and Hubbard; and
  • Possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of Cocaine: Helms and Ashbaker.

In early June 2016, Breeding acquired approximately 20 kilograms of cocaine and then divided it among himself, Helms, Ashbaker, and McGraw to sell.  On June 25, 2016, law enforcement officers stopped Breeding’s vehicle and arrested him after discovering cocaine and a firearm in his vehicle.  On June 29, McGraw and Hubbard planned to obtain an additional 5 kilograms of cocaine from Breeding in Panama City Beach.  When Hubbard arrived at the scheduled meeting place, he possessed approximately $20,000 in cash and a loaded firearm in his vehicle.  He was arrested.  While Hubbard went to meet Breeding, McGraw waited at a nearby motel room.  McGraw was arrested at the motel.  In the motel room, law enforcement officers seized a cocaine press, approximately 800 alprazolam tablets, a loaded firearm, and drug paraphernalia.  On July 8, law enforcement officers seized approximately 2 and 1/2 kilograms of cocaine and approximately $33,000 in cash from Helms’s and Ashbaker’s residence.

This case resulted from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Panama City Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Edwin Knight prosecuted the case.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

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THREE BEHIND BARS FOLLOWING METH BUST

For Immediate Release
February 15, 2017

Choctaw Beach, Fla— Three people are behind bars following the discovering of meth at a home off Cedar Avenue in Walton County.

On February 14th members of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office VICE/Narcotics Units, along with members of the Florida Department of Corrections Probation and Parole completed a search of 341 Cedar Ave in the Choctaw Beach community.

During the search, more than 14 grams of methamphetamine was discovered, along with several items of paraphernalia.

Edwin Peterson Jr., 59, is charged with trafficking in methamphetamine. Christina Cook, 27, is charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Christopher Boone, 35, is charged with misdemeanor violation of probation.

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WCSO PRESENTS THE 2016 QUARTERLY AND ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY

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TURN ‘EM IN TUESDAY – WESLEY RAY MASON ARRESTED

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We featured Wesley Ray Mason as our Turn ’em in Tuesday wanted felon of the week on February 14th on active warrants following a residential burglary in Walton County. Mason and an associate, Breanna Benzenhafer, are suspected of stealing lawn equipment, fishing equipment, and jewelry stolen from a residence in Freeport on January 5th. Mason and Benzenhafer pawned items matching the description a few days after the burglary in Okaloosa County. Benzenhafer turned herself in on February 9th to the Walton County Jail and Mason was picked up on February 19th.

Anyone with information on those with active warrants out of Walton County are encouraged to call the Walton County Sheriff’s Office at (850)-892-8111 or they can remain anonymous by calling Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at (850) 863-TIPS. Submit a web tip at www.emeraldcoastcrimestoppers.com or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips Mobile Application.

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TURN ‘EM IN TUESDAY – JACOB JEREMIAH ROBBINS

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We are pretty sick of this guy. So are his victims. Jacob Jeremiah Robbins is your typical con-artist. He uses his employment to get into the homes of unsuspecting victims. Then, from under your nose, something of value is gone. Robbins is wanted out of Walton County on two charges of grand theft and one charge of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling. That’s why he’s our latest #TurnEmInTuesday felon.

No one like a thief. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Robbins you are encouraged to contact the Walton County Sheriff’s Office at (850)-892-8111 or you can remain anonymous by calling Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at (850) 863-TIPS. Submit a web tip at www.emeraldcoastcrimestoppers.com or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips Mobile Application.

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DEATH INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY FOLLOWING INMATE DEATH; NO FOUL PLAY SUSPECTED 

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For Immediate Release

February 6, 2017

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— Walton County Sheriff’s Office is currently conducting a death investigation following an in custody death at the Walton County Jail.

Fidel Michua-Gonzalez, 29, of Santa Rosa Beach was found unresponsive in his cell by staff at approximately 10:30am. A registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse were notified and within seconds were administering an AED and performing CPR until paramedics arrived. Attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful and Gonzalez was pronounced dead shortly after.

The last confirmed contact was made with Gonzalez earlier in the morning when nurses made medical rounds. He was conscious and talking with staff. No foul play is suspected at this time. The Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene and has taken possession of the body.

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KAYAKS, PADDLE BOARDS AND PADDLE BOAT DONATED TO BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA BY WCSO

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For Immediate Release

February 6th, 2017

DeFuniak Springs, Fla — Found property being held at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office was recently donated to the Gulf Coast Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Deputies and members of the Citizen Posse Unit from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office delivered kayaks, paddle boards and a paddle boat to Spanish Trail Scout Reservation in DeFuniak Springs, which will be used to expand the local camp’s aquatics program.

“I can’t think of a better way for us to utilize these found items that were never claimed.” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “It is important that we help­­­ the local youth programs within our county.”

Found property is held in the evidence room of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office for 90 days, according to Florida statute. If unclaimed, the abandoned property is then donated or gifted to local charities and organizations within the community. ­­­

“With nearly 8,000 people per year visiting the Spanish Trails Scout Reservation,” said Jim Botska, Program Director of the Gulf Coast Council, “this donation will allow the scouts to more easily earn their kayaking merit badge and paddle board awards.”

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WCSO HOLDS SPRING BREAK MEETING WITH VENDORS

sheriff-burglary

For Immediate Release

February 3, 2017

Sandestin, Fla— Spring break was the topic of discussion for more than 25 business owners and vendors attending a meeting at the Hilton Sandestin hosted by Walton County Sheriff’s Office Friday.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office District Lieutenants Scott Hogeboom and Adam Falk addressed the room along with Sheriff Michael Adkinson and Captain Audie Rowell in an effort to keep an open line of communication with the business community.

Similar to past years, WCSO is enforcing a zero tolerance for underage drinking. Visitors can expect an increased presence of law enforcement in the highly populated areas during spring break. We will have portal booking stations in place in those crowded areas and those under arrest will be transported to the county jail, which is located more than 50 miles away in DeFuniak Springs.

“We are not ruining kids lives,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson at the meeting Friday afternoon. “We are preventing them from doing something that could ruin their lives.”

Along with these operations some Walton County private properties have informed WCSO they will be restricting access to their property as certain times.

WCSO is expecting an influx of students during college Spring Break which is set for March 4th-31st for various universities and colleges. High School Spring Break is scheduled from April 1st– 15th for school districts in the southeast.

“We want folks to come here and have a good time,” said Lieutenant Scott Hogeboom. “But, we also expect them to obey the law and behave while they’re here.”

The group addressed questions along with representatives from South Walton Fire District and South Walton Code Enforcement.

“Statistics show over the last 10 years we have had zero deaths on guarded beaches,” said Sammy Sanchez of South Walton Fire. “We want those visiting to keep that in mind when planning your stay and to always adhere to the flag system.”

Other rules that will be enforced include no glass on the beach, no dogs without a permit, and no driving on the beach unless you have a permit from the county.

 

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