Drug deal leads to drive-by shooting, arrest

Sydney Benton (MCSO photo)

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) on Sept. 28 arrested a man after a drug deal went sour and the alleged shooter is said to have fired into an occupied dwelling.

Deputies were dispatched to an unidentified residence in Inverness regarding a drive-by shooting. After the incident, the CCSO said, the suspect’s vehicle had fled the scene and no one inside the home was injured.

Once on scene, deputies observed multiple bullet holes on the exterior of the victim’s residence and vehicle. Detective Laborda and Sergeant Holloway with the CCSO Major Crimes Unit responded and began an investigation.

One victim at the residence stated earlier in the day, while in Marion County, she had been involved in an altercation over narcotics with suspect Sidney Benton, age 33, and another female Marion County resident.

The victim informed detectives the woman from the previous incident drove to her residence in Inverness and demanded property she believed the victim had. The victim and another male occupant of the residence told the female to leave, the CCSO said.

As the female began to enter the vehicle she arrived in, multiple gunshots were fired by a male standing next to the same dark-colored vehicle.The victim believed the shooter was Benton, and the vehicle was later located at Benton’s home in Marion County.

Citrus and Marion County detectives worked together to apprehend Benton near his home. Citrus County arrest warrants for Benton were issued on charges of Attempted Murder, Shooting into an Occupied Dwelling, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

Benton remains in custody at the Marion County Detention Facility with no bond. Benton also faces numerous felony charges in Marion County for the altercation which occurred prior to the Citrus County Incident.

“Illegal narcotics are a danger to our whole community. In this case, drug activity escalated to a firearm being discharged in a residential area, which could have had fatal consequences,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast.

“Detective Laborda’s diligence and cooperation with our partners at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office removed a violent offender from the streets, making both our communities safer,” Prendergast said.

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