‘Operation Oxy-Clean’ nets five arrests

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office cleaned up several streets in the Citrus County community early in the morning hours on April 20, 2018 during OPERATION OXY-CLEAN.
FROM LEFT: Louis Pepe, Susan Pepe, both of Floral City; Shawn Carpenter of Hernando; Steven Minnella and Glenn Wilson, both of Inverness. (PHOTOS: Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on April 20, 2018). CLICK IMAGE ABOVE TO SEE LARGER IMAGES.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office cleaned up several streets in the Citrus County community early Friday morning during OPERATION OXY-CLEAN.

Search and arrest warrants were served targeting oxycodone dealers at residences in Floral City, Hernando, and Inverness. The Sheriff’s Office’s Tactical Impact Unit concluded the operation today, netting five arrests.

Simultaneous search warrants were served at two locations resulting in arrests for selling prescription medication during undercover investigations. Detectives conducted undercover buys with the suspects throughout the last several weeks. A majority of the purchases were negotiated by telephone, resulting in more felony charges of Illegal Use of a Two-way Communication Device.

“Our multi-week investigation took dangerous drugs and drug dealers off our streets and has a significant impact on our community,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “Once again, outstanding job by our Tactical Impact Unit, detectives, and patrol deputies, who have proven time and again that they will not stop until drugs are removed from this county.”

Notably, a mother and son duo, Susan Pepe, and her son, Louis Pepe, sold prescription pills on multiple occasions. Pepe and her son were arrested for the sale of a controlled substance during a search warrant of Louis Pepe’s home.

Glenn Wilson was arrested at his home during our second search warrant.

Other arrests include Steven Minnella of Inverness and Shawn Carpenter of Hernando. A search of a safe in Carpenter’s home yielded $8,000 cash.

OPERATION OXY-CLEAN yielded the following arrests:

Louis Pepe– age 31, Floral City
• 3 Counts of Sale of Controlled Substance (Oxycodone)
• 3 Counts of Illegal use of a Two-way Communication Device

Susan Pepe – age 56, Floral City
• 2 Counts of Sale of Controlled Substance (Oxycodone)
• 2 Counts of Illegal use of a Two-way Communication Device

Shawn Carpenter– age 46, Hernando
• 2 Counts of Sale of Controlled Substance (Oxycodone)
• 2 Counts of Illegal use of a Two-way Communication Device

Glenn Wilson – age 36, Inverness
• 2 Counts of Sale of Controlled Substance (Oxycodone)
• 2 Counts of Illegal use of a Two-way Communication Device

Steven Minnella – age 53, Inverness
• 2 Counts of Sale of Controlled Substance (Oxycodone)

April 2018: Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month

The Citrus County Commission proclaimed April 2018 as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month in Citrus County.

The Citrus County Commission proclaimed April 2018 as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month in Citrus County. The county’s agencies joined state agencies and agencies in other Florida counties in observence of the need for increased awareness of child abuse in the state’s communities (March 27, 2018)

Duke Energy Florida nears completion of state-of-the-art natural gas plant

Duke Energy Florida’s state-of-the-art natural gas plant in Citrus County is on track to deliver cleaner, more reliable energy for Floridians.

  • Duke Energy Florida Natural Gas Plant under construction in Crystal River, Florida (PHOTO: Duke Energy Florida)

    The 1,640-megawatt natural gas plant in Citrus County will provide reliable energy to 1.8 million customers across 35 counties

  • New plant will further reduce carbon emissions, allow retirement of coal-fired units

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Duke Energy Florida’s state-of-the-art natural gas plant in Citrus County is on track to deliver cleaner, more reliable energy for Floridians.

The 1,640-megawatt combined-cycle, two-unit plant will use clean-burning natural gas and highly efficient technology to provide reliable and cleaner energy to 1.8 million Florida customers in 35 counties.

“Our customers expect and deserve cleaner energy, and building highly efficient natural gas infrastructure is critical to delivering on our commitment to a low-carbon energy future,” said Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida president. “Natural gas is also an important part of our modernization strategy to continue delivering energy that is cleaner while meeting the growing energy needs of Floridians. More than ever, we are determined to make smarter energy investments that will benefit our customers and build the cleaner energy future we all want.”

Since 2005, Duke Energy Florida has decreased its emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides significantly – sulfur dioxide by 91 percent, nitrogen oxides by 75 percent and carbon dioxide by 21 percent. The new plant will help further reduce carbon emissions.

Over the next decade, Duke Energy Florida also will make targeted investments in new solar power plants and battery storage technology to help meet our customer needs for cleaner, more reliable energy.

The new Citrus plant’s unit 1 (820 megawatts) is expected to start serving customers in September 2018, and the plant’s unit 2 (also 820 megawatts) is expected to start serving customers in November 2018.

Once the new plant is in operation, the company will retire its Crystal River coal-fired units 1 and 2, which were built in 1966 and 1969, respectively. These units make up half of the company’s coal-fired power plants in Florida.

Construction and related activities are expected to have an area economic benefit of more than $600 million during construction and $13 million annually when operating.

Currently, more than 2,800 workers are involved in the construction of one of the nation’s most advanced and efficient natural gas power plants. Between 50 and 75 workers will operate and maintain the plant once construction is complete.

Florida Public Service Commission filing

Duke Energy Florida filed a request today with the Florida Public Service Commission to recover investment costs associated with the Citrus plant.

For unit 1, residential customers’ base rate would increase by $3.61, starting with the October billing period. Commercial and industrial customers would see a 2.5 to 3.5 percent increase.

For unit 2, residential customers’ base rate would increase by $2.27, starting with the December billing period. Commercial and industrial customers would see a 1.5 to 2.1 percent increase.

If the proposed changes are approved, Duke Energy Florida’s residential rates will remain below the national average for electric utilities.