The EMERALD STAR NEWS Inc.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Operation Salty Spicy
As reported by WZEP AM1460
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office,
with support from the Drug EnforcementAdministration, The United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations, theFlorida Department of Law Enforcementand the Niceville Police Department con-ducted ten simultaneous search warrantraids on specialty shops around OkaloosaCounty that are selling controlled sub-
stances commonly known as “Spice” and“bath salts” as part of their business prac-
tice.Law enforcement officers have purchasedsubstances from multiple businesses inOkaloosa County that have been confirmed by the Florida Department of Law En-forcement as being controlled substancesor analogs of controlled substances as de-fined in Florida State Statute 893.0356.Okaloosa County, the State of Florida,and the United States are plagued withspecialty shops and internet sites that areselling synthetic cannabinoids, which aredesigned to mimic tetrahydrocannabinol/THC (THC the primary psychotropicchemical found in marijuana) and syntheticcathinones, which are designed to mimiccocaine, methamphetamine and other con-trolled stimulants.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, in some
instances these untested and uncontrolledsubstances are 500 to 2000 times stronger than the actual illicit substance. Some peo- ple that are buying these substances andingesting them believe that they are legaland safe. However medical professionalsare advising otherwise. In Florida, therehave been 57 calls to the Poison ControlCenter this month from health profession-als or by people that have ingested syn-thetic cannabinoids, seeking help. TheSheriff says these businesses and businessowners are exploiting loopholes in FederalRegulations and state laws and selling sub-
stances marketed as “Plant food, screencleaner, incense, potpourri” among others,
which contain chemically designed psy-choactive substances. An example is
“Screen Cleaner”, which is not normally
sold in powder form encased in a singlegelatin capsule for an excessive amount of money.Each of these locations and all other loca-tions within Okaloosa County selling thesesubstances, or inventory that is similar inappearance or design to the controlled sub-stances, have been served or are going to be served letters directing them to immedi-ately cease and desist possession, manufac-ture, distribution and sale of these com- pounds.Sheriff Ashley is asking for the voluntarycompliance of the businesses to stop theselling of all synthetic cannabinoids andsynthetic cathinones.
Credit Card Fraud Update
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) has an
update on the rash of credit card fraud cases that inun-dated south Walton. The Florida Department of LawEnforcement, the Secret Service, and retail stores areworking closely with the WCSO in tracking down thesuspects.According to lead investigator Billy Dozier, there have been 70 cases of credit card fraud that have been filed
with the sheriff’s office. Many details of the investiga-
tion are not being made known to the public at this time,as this may jeopardize the numerous investigations thatare being looked into. However, Inv. Dozier said that itappears that no scanning devices were used in thesecrimes, but rather a breach into the computer system atthe store that was targeted. It appears that the breach isno longer active. Given that these crimes were multi- jurisdictional along with a number of cases, Inv. Dozier said it will take some time to solve thecrimes.The WCSO would like to remind those individualswho were affected by these crimes to please continueworking with investigators, even if you have been com- pensated by your financial institution. Investigators willneed the following documents: transaction records, theamount of compensation paid by the bank, and the fullcredit card number of the card that was compromised(which should no longer be active).Inv. Dozier warns Walton County citizens and visitorsto carefully guard their card information and be diligentto watch for suspicious activity on their credit card state-ments while using their cards and accounts.To report further documentation on these cases, pleasecontact Inv. Billy Dozier at 850-892-8186.
Family of Man Shot By WCSODeputy Files Complaint
As reported by WZEP AM1460
In August of 2009, Walton Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Embry re-
sponded to a E-911 call at a Freeport residence on Pope Street,around 5:30pm. The deputy arrived at the home where JefferyWeekley and Evelyn Burch were the only ones home. Fearing trou- ble with not paying child support, Weekley fled into the woods atthe end of the dirt road. The deputy went looking for him.Burch heard two shots fired and Weekley was dead. Now the family has filed a complaint for damages against WaltonSheriff Michael Adkinson and against Nick Embry in his individ-ual capacity. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court inPensacola. In the action it alleges violations of the U.S. Constitu-tion, including violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amend-ments, which forbid the unnecessary and excessive use of forceagainst persons during a seizure or attempted seizure. The com-
plaint was filed by Weekley’s family.
The complaint says Deputy Embry was advised there was a com- plaint involving Jeffery Weekley and Evelyn Burch who lived inthe home. When the deputy arrived, Burch told him Weekley hadleft. Backup deputies were on the way, but Embry decided tosearch the wooded area. The deputy reported he saw Weekley lyingface down behind some bushes and ordered him to get up andcome closer so they could talk. The complaint says the Deputyreports Weekley complied and was shot two times. He was un-armed and no weapons were found on or around the body. Thecomplaint says Jeffery Weekley did not provoke or threaten Embryand did not engage in any form of violence or violent resistance.
The complaint further talks about questions of Deputy Embry’s
employment and that Sheriff Adkinson was aware of facts that giverise to an inference that Embry was unfit for his employment. TheComplaint says Adkinson failed to discipline or terminate Defen-
dant Embry. It also talks about Adkinson’s failure to create a pol-
icy about use of deadly force and thus gave Embry the final deci-sion making authority.
The Complaint then says Jeffery Weekley’s daughter, Katie
Weekley, suffered and continues to suffer injuries and losses due tothe death and seeks for these as well as attorney fees. At the sceneof the shooting, the family had arrived and questioned why deadlyforce was used when Weekley did not own a weapon and did nothave one on him.Reportedly, Weekley had previously spent time in jail due to being found guilty of driving while license suspended after beingfound guilty of Driving Under The Influence. The Family reportedhe had made a run to buy beer earlier in the day and Burch took thekeys from him to prevent him from going again. This prompted thecall to 911, but she hung up when he returned the keys. The 911dispatcher called back and Burch said she did not want anythingdone and told the deputy this also. The family questioned the use of deadly force. At the time, Adkinson said Deputy Embry did nothave a taser.Adkinson asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement toinvestigate the shooting. The results found the shooting was justi-
fied. The State’s Attorney’s Office also concluded the shooting
was justified. The report showed Weekley had alcohol as well astwo other medications in his system.Weekely had suffered an injury earlier in his life. The report fromthe state also says Deputy Embry had reason to believe Weekleyhad a pocket knife on him after Burch told the dispatcher he usu-ally had one. Deputy Embry tried to back away, but fell over a tree.
As Weekley continued, he made the decision to fire. The State’s
Attorney says the unfortunate situation was not made by the dep-uty, rather by the actions of Weekley. The report also states the
deputy’s statements remained consistent through the investigation.
Mattie Kelly Environmental Symposium, April 27Choctawhatchee Estuary Family Festival, April 28
The Mattie M. Kelly Cultural & Environmental Instituteat Northwest Florida State College will host the fifth an-nual Mattie Kelly Environmental Symposium on theChoctawhatchee Basin on April 27, 2012 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the college's Niceville campus and a free Choc-tawhatchee Estuary Family Festival April 28 at FredGannon Rocky Bayou State Park in Niceville from 11a.m. to 4:00 p.m.Registrations are now being accepted for the April 27symposium by web at www.mattiekellyinstitute.org. Thisyear's symposium theme is "Comparing the Estuaries of Northwest Florida." The symposium is open to the publicand geared to scientists, ecologists, conservation groups,city and regional developers, transportation planners,residents and landowners. The registration fee is $25 andincludes all symposium materials, a continental breakfastand lunch. Register online by April 18 to reserve a spaceat the symposium and pay registration fee by mailor in-person the day of the event.The symposium is part of a two-day emphasis on theChoctawhatchee Basin which also includes the fifth an-nual Choctawhatchee Estuary Family Festival on Satur-day, April 28 from 11:00 am. to 4:00 p.m. at FredGannon Rocky Bayou State Park, located at 4281 High-way 20 East in Niceville. The festival is a free family &community event for all ages. There is no park entrancefee for the festival which offers fun activities, hands-ondisplays and environmental awareness. contact MeredithFingarson at 729-4915