Yearlong ‘dark web’ investigation leads to local RICO arrests

Law enforcement officers show off items discovered during an arrest warrant served on an Inverness home on Oct. 14 (CCSO photo on Oct. 15, 2020)

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) on Thursday said that two Inverness residents were arrested on Wednesday on drug charges after an extensive, yearlong joint investigation on the “dark web.”

Arrested under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) were 53-year-old Benjamin Burdick and 29-year-old Catilynkyrie Burdick of Inverness. They are being held in the Citrus County Detention Facility without bond, the CCSO said.

The investigation was a joint effort among the CCSO, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

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County Land Development Commission to hold Cardinal Street Meeting in November

The Citrus County Board of County Commissioners proposes to adopt:  A new Future Land Use Map category in relation to the Suncoast Parkway Interchange Management Area at W. Cardinal Street, along with supporting Text, Goals, Objectives and Policies.

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Suspect surrenders after Hernando hostage crisis ends; 1 dead

At approximately 4 p.m. on Saturday, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) received reports of an armed suspect, William Poole, 62, who deputies said was barricaded inside of a home with shots fired near the intersection of Highway 41 and Van Ness Road in Hernando.

Deputies immediately responded to the scene and began securing the area. The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Negotiation Team, as well as the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, also responded and began working to safely remove the four victims being held inside the home.

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3-month old child abuse victim dies, more charges against mother

Jessica Figueroa

Citrus County Sheriff’s Office’s Detective Barry with the Special Victims Unit on Friday arrested 36-year-old Jessica Figueroa of Merritt Island for the death of 3-month-old David Figueroa-Philip.

“As I said in Figueroa’s initial arrest, it is never easy for our office to work cases of this nature,” Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast.

“It becomes even more challenging when the precious child our detectives work so diligently to help passes. May this child rest in peace and may the judge presiding over this case  show no mercy towards Figueroa and the brutal harm she inflicted upon this defenseless victim.”

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Sheriff’s Office joins coalition against human trafficking

Stock photo

Members of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday attended the Attorney General’s 2020 Human Trafficking Summit to continue effective methods in identifying, intervening and ending human trafficking nationally.

Due to ongoing health and safety concerns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the summit’s one-day physical attendance format was replaced with a special webinar of presentations from subject matter experts.

The new online format allowed for a larger number of registrants, with more than 2,000 individuals across 27 different states in attendance, to include the CCSO.

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Crystal River man charged with attempted murder 5 days after prison release

Demare Barnes (CCSO mugshot on Oct. 6, 2020)

Citrus County Sheriff’s Office officials today arrested 32-year-old, Demare Barnes of Crystal River on attempted murder charges stemming from a shooting that occurred in the early morning hours this past weekend.

“Barnes is no stranger to violence; his extensive criminal history makes that evident,” said Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “Despite being sentenced in 2016 and serving four years in Union Correctional Institute, Barnes still posed a deadly threat to our community.

“I am so thankful the victim, in this case, was not harmed and CCSO professionals were able to rapidly capture this dangerous criminal for the safety of our citizens.”

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Stray bullet strikes juvenile on July 4, woman arrested today

Carol Kolberg

After a juvenile was struck by a stray bullet on July 4, Citrus County deputies today arrested and charged a 75-year-old woman today in connection with the incident.

The parents of the victim said that on the 4th of July, they had been outside setting off fireworks when the victim fell to the ground screaming.  Family members saw the victim was bleeding and immediately contacted the CCSO.

When deputies arrived on scene, the victim was being treated by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for a wound to his abdomen.  The victim was transported to the hospital, where it was confirmed that the victim had suffered a gunshot wound, and the projectile was still located inside his body.

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Stone crab season starts Oct. 15 with regulation changes in place

Several recreational and commercial stone crab regulation changes go into effect in the next few weeks, just in time for the Oct. 15 season start date. 

Florida’s stone crab fishery has experienced a long-term decline in harvest and is likely undergoing overfishing. FWC staff worked with stakeholders on these changes that are intended to increase the stone crab population and build resiliency in the fishery.

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DeSantis makes four judicial appointments

Tallahassee, Fla. – Governor Ron DeSantis today announced the appointments of Thomas Rebull to the Eleventh Circuit Court, Steve Berlin and Julie Sercus to the Sixth Circuit Court, and Joseph Lawhorne to the Pinellas County Court.
Thomas Rebull
Rebull, of Miami, has been a Judge for the Eleventh Circuit since 2011. He previously was a partner at Broad and Cassel and has been a member of the Cuban American Bar Association. He received his bachelor’s degree from Boston University and his law degree from the American University. Rebull fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Alexander Bokor to the Third District Court of Appeal.

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