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Money, drugs seized in tri-county bust

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Officials arrest 17 people, including an alleged local kingpin; two more arrests pending

By Abdon Sidibe

The sheriff’s office has arrested or has warrants out for the arrest of a bundle of people on drug charges in the tri-county area.

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According to a release from the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, investigators joined forces with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Ocala Police Department, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in a drug trafficking warrants roundup they believe effectively took down a drug organization operating in both Citrus and Marion counties.

The effort, dubbed Operation Untouchables, was a months-long enterprise that also brought new arrests and charges against others.

According to CCSO, search warrants were executed locally at 2154 W. Charlene Place, Citrus Springs, and 1582 N. Wintergreen Terrace in Crystal River, in addition to a third location in Marion County, by the CCSO Special Weapons and Tactics team and the MCSO team.

Authorities said the investigation started approximately six months ago when they received initial information about the organization, which then developed.

“You normally don’t have cocaine dealers associating with methamphetamine dealers, and vice versa,” said Sgt. John Novy, who heads up Citrus County’s Tactical Impact unit.

“Pain pills also were heavily involved in the investigation,” he added.

Those arrested in Citrus County were: Todd Williams, 34; Sharmark  Powell, 36; Guy Anthony Jobe, 36; Nadia Hassan, 27; Ricky Farrar, 50; Billy Joe Bishop, 32; Sheila Vecchione, 24; Emily Merson, 26; Gennie Martin, 27; and Patricia Hall, 23.

Marc Carroll, Amy Lutes and Anthony Lolly were already in custody facing a slew of other drug charges, but received additional charges.

The following were picked up in other counties on CCSO warrants:

Richard Roberts (arrested in Marion County); Lawrence Washington (arrested in Marion County); Lisa Stephens (arrested in Levy County); and Jessie Chesterfield (arrested in Levy County).

Two others have warrants and have yet to be arrested: Donald Holman, 53, last known address: 11960 N. Florida Ave., Dunnellon, and Lawrence Roddenberry, 37, last known address: 2315 N. Sunshine Path, Lot 6, Crystal River.

According to CCSO, Todd Shavon Williams is considered the drug kingpin who was arrested and charged under  the RICO  (Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act, continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to commit RICO, plus numerous other felonies associated with trafficking narcotics. 

Officials allege Williams was acting as the principal of a Citrus County-based organization. 

He reportedly would direct co-conspirators to visit different pain clinics in Central Florida and acquire prescriptions for controlled substances. He then would disperse the narcotics at the street level. His bond was set at $1.985 million.

According to CCSO, Sharmark Powell and Gennie Martin also were identified as being directly involved in the organization as mid-level managers. Powell and Martin’s bonds are $923,000 and $205,000 respectively. 

Additionally, Williams was directly involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine in Citrus County. He’s alleged to have been responsible for sending people out to purchase pseudoephedrine, which he later supplied to meth cook Marc Carroll, so it could be converted into methamphetamine, authorities charge. One result of the search warrant served at Williams’ residence was the recovery of numerous patient files and records, which were seized as evidence, according to reports.

Williams also was reportedly involved in distributing cocaine in both Citrus and Marion counties. He is said to be close associates of Gantry Belvin and Josh Thomas — who were arrested by Marion County authorities — trafficking cocaine between the two counties on a daily basis, according to the CCSO.

Anthony Guy Jobe, who lives at N. Wintergreen Terrace in Crystal River, also was arrested after a search warrant was executed at his residence. Jobe was charged with possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. 

After a search of Jobe’s home, detectives reportedly found about $112,000 in cash. 

The money was seized as part of the investigation, after Jobe reportedly told investigators he stashed the money at his house to keep it out of reach of the Internal Revenue Service.

“Drug dealers don’t just operate in one county, so it’s extremely beneficial to have interagency teamwork and communication between surrounding counties” said CCSO Detective Chris Ludlow, the primary investigator in the Williams case here in Citrus County.

Chronicle reporter A.B. Sidibe can be reached at 352-564-2925 or asidibe@chronicleonline.com.