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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Wood, Donna

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 1/25/2013 

 Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives charge 10 with Racketeering and additional charges 


 A total of 89 charges have been made against 14 suspects since the beginning of the investigation in Mid-December, 2012;

On Friday, January 25, 2013, PCSO deputies arrested seven suspects and charged three additional suspects, who were already in jail, with Felony Racketeering in connection to the December 20, 2012, investigation in which PCSO detectives discovered a chop shop.  The criminal organization was operating under the cover of A-One Quality Services, Inc., 122 Dairy Road, Auburndale. 

“Working with the State Attorney’s Office, we have charged these suspects with serious racketeering violations.  Our investigation has clearly shown an organized pattern of burglary, theft, and dealing in stolen property.  We are ending this organized effort to steal from hard working citizens for financial gain.”  --Sheriff Grady Judd

Racketeering can be generally described as a pattern of illegal conduct and activity (such as theft and dealing in stolen property) carried out by two or more people as part of an organized enterprise that is owned or controlled by those who are engaged in the illegal activity.  Those who are involved in the criminal conspiracy have knowledge of the others’ illegal activities.  Felony Racketeering carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

Suspects arrested and charged with violating Florida’s Racketeering Statute (F.S. 895.03—1st Degree Felony), along with other charges were:

1.    Brent Burgett, DOB 02/28/1983, 120 North Point Drive, Auburndale.  Burgett is known as the “Boss” (ring leader) of the criminal enterprise.  Detectives have determined that the criminal enterprise involves the distribution of illegal drugs and stolen property.  The organization obtained and laundered stolen property.  In addition to the Racketeering Violation B. Burgett has been charged with Dealing in Stolen Property (2 counts), Grand Theft (2 counts), Criminal Conspiracy (2 counts), Possession of a Short Barreled Rifle, Wear Bulletproof Vest During Certain Offenses, Transfer Motor Vehicle Title without Buyers Name (3 counts), Possess of Alprazolam (Xanax), and Grand Theft of a Firearm (2 counts).  Burgett also has prior charges (December) relating to the investigation.

2.    Aleta Burgett, DOB 04/17/1953, 274 Santa Rosa Drive, Winter Haven.  Aleta Burgett has facilitated the criminal enterprise by knowingly maintaining a “cover” for the operation’s illegal business through the operation of an unlicensed septic business.  She provided the facilities and utilities for the operation of the illegal business.  Aleta Burgett also has prior charges (in December) relating to the investigation.

3.    Danny Cleveland, DOB 09/05/1988, 308 Dixie Highway, Auburndale.  Danny Cleveland was established as the “manager” of the criminal enterprise.  Cleveland brokered numerous deals related to stolen property and/or committed burglary.  He is known to have been directly involved in at least nine burglaries and grand thefts. In addition to the Racketeering Violation Cleveland has been charged with Own/Operate/Conduct/Aid & Abet Chop Shop, Grand Theft of a Firearm (2 counts), Grand Theft (4 counts), Burglary (3 counts), Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Criminal Attempt Solicitation Conspiracy, Dealing in Stolen Property (2 counts), and Criminal Conspiracy(3 counts).

4.    Alexander Bove, DOB 07/09/1986, 25 Jimmy Lee Road, Winter Haven.  Bove has been established as “labor” for the criminal organization.  He took direct involvement in the disassembly of stolen vehicles for the purpose of laundering the stolen vehicles at the direction of Brent Burgett.  He also acquired firearms for the criminal organization (which they advised were to be used for protection).  Bove has been charged with a Racketeering Violation and will also be charged with Possession of a Short Barreled Rifle.  Bove also has prior charges (in December) relating to the investigation.

5.    Charlie Pickren, III DOB 10/18/1988, 1520 Fussell Road, Polk City.  Pickren has been established as “labor” for the criminal organization.  He facilitated burglaries and thefts for the group.  He has also admitted to detectives to selling illegal drugs for Danny Cleveland and Brent Burgett for financial gain.  In addition to the Racketeering Violation Pickren has been charged with Burglary of a Structure and Grand Theft. Pickren is currently receiving government assistance. 

6.    Gerald Burdine, DOB 06/04/1985, 10625 Pathfinder Trail, Lakeland.  Burdine has been established as “labor” for the criminal organization.  He was involved in two burglaries and grand thefts that were filtered through the criminal organization.  In addition to the Racketeering Violation Burdine has been charged with Burglary (2 counts), Grand Theft, Grand Theft Auto, and Criminal Conspiracy (2 counts).  Burdine is currently receiving government assistance.

7.    Richard John Melius, DOB 07/12/1983, 4640 Country Trails Drive, Polk City.  He will be charged today with stealing a Polaris 4-wheeler from the Lakeland Speedway in October, 2012.  He is also being investigated for RICO charges related to the Burgetts’ criminal organization.  Melius has an extensive criminal record including 19 criminal charges.  He was released from the Florida State Prison system in March of 2011. 

Those who were already in Jail custody for other crimes and for crimes related to the investigation are: (Warrants for Racketeering charges will be served on them in jail) 

1.    Calon Johnson, DOB 08/12/1983, 6130 Fussell Road, Polk City.  Johnson has been established as “labor” for the criminal organization. He has been directly involved in two burglaries and grand thefts that were filtered through the criminal enterprise.  He was last arrested on 12/18/2012 and charged with Resisting - Fleeing to Elude, Burglary of Occupied Dwelling, Larceny and Resisting Arrest without Violence.  In addition to the Racketeering Violation Johnson has been charged with Burglary (3 counts), Grand Theft Auto, Conspire to Commit Grand Theft, Grand Theft (2 counts), Dealing in Stolen Property (Organized), and Criminal Conspiracy. 

2.    Bruce Durham, DOB 12/23/1960, 1910 Meadow Oak Circle, Polk City.  Durham has been established as “labor” for the criminal organization.  He has been directly involved in thefts and burglaries that fueled the criminal organization.  He knowingly allowed members of the organization to use his vehicle for the facilitation of crimes.  He acquired the use of a vehicle and the ownership of stolen property from the criminal organization for his service to facilitate a pattern of criminal activity supporting the criminal enterprise.  He was last arrested twice on 01/16/2013; first arrest was for Possession of Controlled Substance without Prescription, and Possession of Paraphernalia, Probation Violation.  The second arrest on that date included charges of Fraud – Transfer Motor Vehicle Title w/o Buyer Name, Counterfeiting of Payment Instrument and Dangerous Drugs-Keep Shop or Vehicle for Drugs.  In addition to the Racketeering Violation Durham has been charged with Burglary, Grand Theft Motor Vehicle, and Criminal Conspiracy.  Durham is currently receiving government assistance.  

3.    Adam Sprague, DOB 10/19/1984, 2814 E. Baker Avenue, Haines City.  Sprague has been established as “labor” for the criminal organization.  He has committed burglary and grand theft to acquire property for the criminal organization to launder for US currency.  He was last arrested on 10/24/2012 on Failure to Appear.  In addition to the Racketeering Violation Sprague has been charged with Burglary, Grand Theft, and Criminal Conspiracy. Sprague is currently receiving government assistance. 

As reported in December 2012: 

“Polk County Sheriff's detectives arrested 59-year-old Aleta Burgett (DOB 4/17/1953) of Winter Haven and her son, 29-year-old Brent Burgett (DOB 2/28/1983) of Winter Haven, along with an associate, 26-year-old Alexander Bove (DOB 7/9/1986) of Winter Haven, and charged them each with: one count Own/Operate Chop Shop; one count Burglary Conveyance; one count Grand Theft Auto; one count Possession of Motor Vehicle with Altered VIN; and one count Conspiracy.” – PCSO News Release, 12.20.12

The investigation began in mid-December when PCSO detectives were following up leads on stolen vehicles and dealing in stolen property.  The investigation led them to A-One Quality Services, Inc., where they obtained a search warrant and seized stolen vehicles and car parts, other stolen items, and numerous weapons and ammunition. 

There is also an ongoing investigation related to the A-1 Quality Septic Tank business related to compliance with septic tank business permits, regulations and requirements.

 

The following is a partial list of discovered stolen property at 122 Dairy Road, Auburndale known as “A-One Quality Services.”  

  • Walther P22 handgun (PCSO case).  Stolen from 4411 Highway 542 W, Lot #C4, Lakeland (7.3.08).  Brent Burgett told detectives that he acquired the firearm from Danny Cleveland.
  • Sthil Backpack Blower (LPD case).  Stolen from Lakeland (7.2.11).
  • Dodge Truck (LPD case).  Stolen from Lakeland (12.16.12).  Found disassembled into pieces and in the process of being painted to disguise the truck.  Brent Burgett told detectives that he acquired the stolen truck from Danny Cleveland.
  • 5’X8’ enclosed trailer (PCSO case).  The trailer contained cannabis and cannabis growing paraphernalia (high intensity lights, etc.)  Brent Burgett told detectives that he acquired the stolen trailer from Danny Cleveland.  Brent Burgett also told detectives he was using the trailer to conceal the marijuana and equipment.
  • Polaris Side by Side 4-Wheeler ATV & a chain saw (PCSO case).  Stolen between 4.27.12 and 5.10.12 from a barn in rural Polk County.  Danny Cleveland stole the items and Charlie Pickren facilitated the burglary by acting a “lookout.”
  • Polaris ATV (LPD case).  Stolen on 10.4.12 from a gated business in Lakeland—a trailer was also stolen but it was recovered on 10.5.12.  Danny Cleveland acquired the stolen Polaris and sold it to Bren Burgett.
  • Towable Diesel Generator (PCSO case).  Stolen from Orange Blossom Citrus (along with a Ford F150) by Calon Johnson between 10.10.12 and 10.11.12.  On 10.13.12 Calon Johnson was involved in a vehicle crash on highway 17/92 while driving the stolen truck.  Brent Burgett told detectives that he acquired the stolen truck through a deal negotiated by Danny Cleveland by trading a Jeep Cherokee for the generator.
  • Trailer and Gravely zero turn mower (PCSO case).  Stolen between 12.5.12 and 12.6.12.
  • Numerous flat screen televisions were located in the office that had the serial numbers melted off or otherwise removed.
  • $13,968 in cash was recovered at the business.  Brent Burgett told deputies that the cash was the result of the sale of a truck. 

The Florida Department of Environmental Services confirmed that the alleged legitimate septic business was not permitted to conduct septic services at the 122 Dairy Road location.  There is also no evidence of the business located at 122 Dairy Road being licensed for auto body or auto repair.

During the course of the investigation, detectives identified four additional suspects who were associates of the organization.  They have not been charged with Racketeering.

Those suspects are:

1.    Sarah Pontius, DOB 08/8/1983, 1910 Meadow Oak Circle, Polk City, was arrested on 01/19/2013 and charged with Possession of Controlled Substance without a Prescription, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Failure to Appear.

2.    Gwendolyn Weber, DOB 07/29/1984, 5150 Duey Road, Plant City, was arrested on 12/18/2012 and charged with Pass Forged – Sell Vehicle with Altered Numbers, Burglary, Vehicle Theft, Fraud (Insufficient Funds) and Failure to Appear.

3.    Aaron Weber, DOB 12/19/1973, 5150 Duey Road, Plant City, currently in State Prison, arrested on 09/13/2009 by the Lakeland Police Department and charged with Driving While License Suspended or Revoked, Vehicle Theft, and Withhold Support.

4.    Timothy Boulanger, DOB 05/16/1984, No # Citrus Grove, Blvd., Polk City, was arrested on 01/09/2013 and charged with Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  Boulanger is currently receiving government assistance.

Florida criminal arrest histories of the 14 suspects listed above accompany this release.  The 14 suspects have a total 248 previous charges according to their criminal histories—an average of about 18 charges per person. 

During the course of serving warrants today, two other people were arrested:   

Pamela Veal Pickren, DOB 03/03/1964, 4422 Fussell Road, Polk City.  Pamela Pickren is charged with Resist Officer without Violence.  She has previous arrests for Assault – Spouse Battery, and Resisting Officer/Arrest with Violence on 05/12/1990 

Kimberly Jo Addison, DOB 12/28/1978, 4307 Cheri Drive, Auburndale.  Addison is charged with Unlawful Use of License, Suspended.  She has a previous arrest for Failure to Appear (Written Promise to Appear) on 03/06/2012. 

The investigation is ongoing.