Palatka, FL: On 12/15/2017, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Drug / Vice Unit, Street Crimes Unit and K-9 Unit teamed up to conduct counternarcotics and crime suppression operations in the City of Palatka. The operation resulted in the arrest of five individuals on narcotics-related charges.
The evening began when undercover detectives observed a drug transaction between the occupants of two vehicles in the 2900 block of Kennedy Street. The suspect who sold the narcotics was identified thirty-two-year-old Chavarro Thomas. Deputy Garriga and his K-9 partner Halo conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle he was driving. When deputies attempted to take Thomas into custody, he pushed away and fled on foot. After ignoring repeated warnings to comply with lawful commands, K-9 Halo was used to apprehend the fleeing felon. Thomas continued to flee and jumped multiple fences with Halo in pursuit. Thomas was arrested after being caught by Halo. The K-9 apprehension resulted in minor injuries to Thomas’ buttocks. Thomas received treatment at Putnam Community Medical Center before being booked into the county jail. The driver of the other vehicle, who purchased the narcotics, was identified as twenty-nine-year-old Suzanne Johnson. Johnson’s nine-year-old son was in the vehicle at the time of the incident. Thomas was charged with the sale of cocaine within 1000 feet of a convenience store, escape and violation of probation. Thomas is on probation for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Johnson, who is employed by Putnam County District Schools as a teacher, was charged with purchase of cocaine, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, child neglect, and driving on a suspended license. Putnam County School officials and the Florida Department of Children and Family Services have been notified.
In a separate case, twenty-nine-year-old Jeffrey Fletcher was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop was conducted by deputy Gentry and his K-9 partner Zeke on St. Johns Avenue. After Zeke alerted to an odor of a narcotic emanating from the vehicle, deputies located several small bags of cocaine packaged for individual sale.
As the operation continued, deputies conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by thirty-nine-year-old James Stanley on Reid Street. Deputies smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The subsequent search resulted in the location of approximately nineteen grams of marijuana and two instruments used to smoke methamphetamine.
Finally, deputies charged twenty-five-year-old Ibra Ward with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia after K-9 Zeke again alerted to the presence of narcotics during another traffic stop on Reid Street.