Date: August 24, 2001 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact:

Scott Wilder, (863) 534-6299 or (941) 820-1198 pager

Undercover Investigation Nets Large Seizure of Ecstasy Pills

On 08/01/2001, undercover Polk County Sheriff's Office detectives began an undercover investigation into the sale of MDMA (Ecstasy) within the Haines City and Davenport areas of Polk County.

On 08/02/2001, an undercover detective met with Vernon Keith Brown in the attempt to purchase thirty Ecstasy Pills. Mr. Brown rode with the detective to 256 Chris Court Davenport, Florida. Upon arriving at this location the detective and Mr. Brown entered the residence and met with the resident, Karl Gilbert Henderson. The detective handed Mr. Brown $450.00. Mr. Brown handed the $450.00 to Mr. Henderson at which time Mr. Henderson handed thirty (30) Ecstasy Pills to the detective.  The detective noticed approximately One (1) pound of Cannabis sitting on a table on the residence. A purchase of One ounce (28 Grams) of Cannabis was purchased from Mr. Henderson for $75.00 by the detective. Upon returning Mr. Brown's home, the detective was introduced to a black male later identified as Franklin Watkins. Mr. Watkins negotiated with the detective on a future purchase of two pounds of Cannabis.

On 08/13/01, the detective responded back to 256 Chris Court Davenport, Florida in attempt to purchase one Hundred (100) Ecstasy Pills from Mr. Henderson. The purchase was prearranged through telephone calls between an undercover detective and Mr. Henderson. Upon arriving at the residence, Mr. Henderson sold one hundred (100) Ecstasy Pills to the detective in exchange for $1,400.00.

On 08/20/01 Mr. Brown contacted the detective via the telephone and advised that he could get a better price on some "beans" (Ecstasy) if he (the detective) was interested. The detective agreed to talk with anyone about better prices. A short time later, the detective received a telephone call from a subject who identified himself as Michael Donnellan. The detective and Mr. Donnellan agreed to meet on 08/21/01 at the Sonny's Barbecue in Haines City to discuss a possible Ecstasy Deal.

On 08/21/01 Mr. Donnellan met with the detective at the above-mentioned location. Mr. Donnellan negotiated an Ecstasy deal for One Thousand (1,000) pills of Ecstasy, 200 pills of Xanax, and ten pounds of Cannabis. The deal was to occur on 08/22/2001. It was going to cost $20,700.00 for all of the above-mentioned narcotics.

On 08/22/01, the detective met with Mr. Donnellan and another unknown white male (later identified as Dustin Bullock) at the Texaco Gas Station located at 7110 State Road 544. Upon meeting the two subjects, the undercover detective confirmed that the subjects were in possession of the narcotics then gave a signal to the Sheriff's Office Tactical Drug Unit.  Members of the unit moved in and arrested the two subjects.  The two subjects were in possession of 1,000 Ecstasy Pills, 400 Xanax Pills and 22 Grams of Cannabis.
After the arrest of Mr. Donnellan and Mr. Bullock, the Tactical Drug Unit responded to the Haines City Area in the attempt to arrest Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown was located at the McDonalds on State Road 17/92 Haines City. Mr. Brown was arrested.

The Tactical Drug Unit responded to 256 Chris Court Davenport to execute a Search Warrant at Mr. Henderson's residence. Upon the execution of the Search Warrant, 194 Ecstasy Pills were recovered and Mr. Henderson was arrested. Mr. Hardisty was in the front of Mr. Henderson's residence at the time of the Search Warrant and he was found to be in possession of approximately 5 Grams of Methamphetamine and he was arrested.

On 08/23/01, Mr. Franklin Watkins contacted the undercover detective and advised that he had the Cannabis that was ordered on 08/01/01. The detective responded to Mr. Watkin's residence to make the purchase. Upon arrival Mr. Watkins negotiated a deal of two pounds of cannabis for $1,500.00. Mr. Watkins left the residence for a short period and returned with an unknown black male (later identified as Roderick Jermain Cox). Both Mr. Watkins and Mr. Cox showed the Cannabis to the detective and they were arrested without incident by the Tactical Drug Unit.
As a result of this investigation, a total of seven arrests were made, 1,367 Ecstasy Pills, 400 Xanax Pills, 896.4 Grams (Two Pounds) of Cannabis, and 5 Grams of Methamphetamine were recovered.  The investigation concluded late Thursday, August 23, 2001.

The following is a list of charges on each subject:
Karl Henderson (256 Chris Court, Davenport, 18-y-o):  Trafficking MDMA , (Two Counts), Poss. of MDMA with intent to Sell, (Two Counts) Sale of MDMA, Sale of Cannabis, Poss. of Cannabis with intent to Sell.
Vernon Brown (2531 East Hinson Street, Haines City, 17-y-o): Sale of MDMA, Poss. of a Concealed Weapon.
Lyndon Hardisty (221 North 30th St, Haines City, 16-y-o): (Poss. of Methamphetamine, Poss. of Drug Paraphernalia.
Michael Donnellan (12000 Jim Evans Road, Haines City, 19-y-o): Trafficking in MDMA, Conspiracy to Traffic MDMA, Poss. of Xanax, Poss. of Xanax with Intent to Sell, Poss. of Cannabis over 20 Grams with Intent to Sell.
Dustin Bullock (4821 Clover Road, Auburndale, 21-y-o):  Trafficking in MDMA, Conspiracy to Traffic MDMA, Poss. of Xanax, Poss. of Cannabis over 20 Grams with Intent to Sell.
Frank Watkins (2351 Hinson Avenue, Haines City, 25-y-o): Poss. of Cannabis over 20 Grams, Poss. of Cannabis with intent to Sell.
Roderick Cox (2608 Adamson Court, Polk City, 20-y-o):  Poss. of Cannabis over 20 Grams with Intent to Sell, Poss. of Cannabis with Intent to Sell, Resisting Officer W/O Violence.

XXX

Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

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