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Highlands County Sheriff's Office makes largest dealer round-up arrest in county's history

Posted: 5:44 PM, Jan 16, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-16 22:44:03Z

SEBRING, Fla. — Highlands County Sheriff’s Office says their most recent drug dealer bust is the largest recorded in the county’s history.

23 people across the area were arrested on charges for dealing meth or opiates. 

According to the sheriff’s office, Operation Dealer Fold began Thursday, Jan. 11 and ran through the weekend.

Before that, it was months and months of investigations.

The operation targeted dealers of meth and opiates. The Special Operations Unit launched the operation documenting narcotics sales and used surveillance video and undercover operatives. 

20 of the arrests were charged with selling narcotics, the other three for drug possession.

Sheriff Paul Blackman says there is growing use of meth and opiate across the area.

“I would stress that we don’t have as big as a problem as some of the east coast and west coast counties but we do recognize it as a growing problem, and if they are selling one opioid here in our county then that’s an issue,” Sheriff Blackman said.

The following comes from the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office:

Arrested during the Operation Dealer Fold sweep over the weekend were:

● Erica Lea Blair, 47, of Sebring: possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment.

● Donna Alice Bermudez, 56, of Avon Park: sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment.

● Brittany Jean Boozel, 33, of Sebring: sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment, possession of a controlled substance.

● Dario Stephan Dixby, 41, of Sebring: sale of oxycodone.

● Tonya Hartsfield Granger, 57, of Avon Park: sale of oxycodone.

● Patricia Ferol Hall, 45, of Sebring: trafficking in oxycodone, sale of oxycodone, sale of hydromorphone, possession of controlled substance with intent to sell (three counts), possession of drug equipment.

● Derick Demon Hammonds, 38, of Sebring: sale of oxycodone (two counts), possession of drug equipment.

● Mark Antonio Hanson, 32, of Sebring: sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment.

● Aleia Danielle Jones, 28, of Sebring: sale of oxycodone, sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment.

● Shawn Douglas Klebba, 37, of Avon Park: sale of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment, use of a two-way device to facilitate a felony.

● Nicholas Ray Lynch: possession of marijuana, possession of drug equipment, resisting arrest without violence

● Stephen Martin Mackay, 46, of Sebring: possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment.

● Daniell Nicole McDaniel, 33, of Avon Park: sale of oxycodone, sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment.

● Melissa Lynn McIntosh-Paniccia, 47, of Sebring: sale of methamphetamine (two counts), possession of drug equipment, using a two-way device to facilitate a felony.

● Tanya Lynn Mobley, 32, of Lake Placid: sale of hydrocodone, possession of drug equipment

● Paige Marie Oldfield, 50, of Avon Park: sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment.

● Freddie Leon Owens, 59, of Sebring: sale of oxycodone, use of a two-way device to facilitate a felony.

● Barbara Anne Ratliff, 59, of Avon Park: sale of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment, use of a two-way device to facilitate a felony.

● JimmyRay Parks, 18, of Sebring: felony possession of marijuana, possession of drug equipment, resisting arrest without violence.

● Raymond Clayton Parks, 37, of Sebring: sale of hydromorphone.

● Steven Lee Purser, 47, of Bowling Green: sale of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment, use of a two-way device to facilitate a felony.

● Joshua Thomas Strusz, 33, of Sebring: sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment.

● Rebecca Lynn Taylor, 36, of Sebring: sale of oxycodone (two counts), possession of drug equipment, possession of marijuana.

Additionally, arrest warrants have been issued for the following suspects:

● Asa Scott Boyd, 37, of Avon Park: sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment, use of a two-way device to facilitate a felony (currently in custody on other charges in Polk County).

● Edward Bernard Hammond, 61, of Sebring: sale of oxycodone.

● Floyd Gene Hodge, 52, of Avon Park: possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment.

● Sheena Kristen Garcia, 35, of Sebring: sale of oxycodone.

● Steven Hanna, 20, of West Park: obtaining a controlled substance (codeine) by fraud.

● Talvin Johnson, 33, of Miramar: obtaining a controlled substance (codeine) by fraud.

● Stephen Gerald Shuart, 31, of Avon Park: sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment.

● Virgina Joy Underwood, 31, of Sebring: sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment

Hanna and Johnson are the only two suspects not from Highlands County. They are wanted for using fraudulent prescriptions to obtain codeine-based prescriptions to be sold on the streets, and are part of a large ring on the east coast of the state. Three of their co-conspirators were arrested in Highlands County just before New Year’s Eve.