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Port Orange Observer Thursday, May 16, 2019 1 year ago

Port Orange woman among 20 arrested after Volusia County drug raid

'Operation Smooth Criminal' resulted in warrants after yearlong investigation.
by: Guest Writer

After an extensive, more than yearlong investigation, members of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and Volusia Bureau of Investigation dismantled a drug trafficking organization on May 16 responsible for distributing heroin, fentanyl and cocaine on the streets of Volusia County and beyond. The ringleaders and several other members were arrested, with additional arrests expected in the future. The investigation also led to the identification of the organization’s supplier, who was arrested May 16 in South Florida.

Among the items seized in Volusia County today were significant amounts of fentanyl, at least a quarter million dollars in cash, luxury vehicles and 20 firearms.

The investigation, which started in 2018 and was dubbed “Operation Smooth Criminal,” resulted in arrest warrants for more than 20 individuals on trafficking charges, including the ringleaders, Marcel “MJ” Green of Daytona Beach and Robert Hamilton Jr. of Ormond Beach. Those two men and six other local suspects were arrested during a series of raids Thursday morning. Arrest warrants are active for 14 more suspects.

This afternoon, acting on information from this VBI operation, members of the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force conducted a traffic stop on Kenneth Rowell (DOB 9/5/1974) of Pembroke Pines, and discovered a trafficking amount of narcotics in his vehicle. He will be facing trafficking conspiracy charges from VBI in addition to any charges in South Florida.

Three of the guns recovered from search warrant locations in Volusia County were reported stolen, including a shotgun taken in a car break of a sheriff’s deputy’s patrol vehicle in 2016.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood and Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri told reporters at a Thursday afternoon news conference that the arrests and arrest warrants represented a major dent in drug activity in Volusia County, much of which has been the subject of complaints to both agencies.

“You’re talking 3 kilos of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine hitting our streets on a weekly basis,” Chitwood said. “These clowns are out there murdering people with the poison they’re dealing, because human life is cheap on the streets.” The sheriff asked for the public to continue sending in tips and information about drug activity in their neighborhoods: “It's imperative that the community continues to funnel information to us. It's imperative, because we're only as good as the information you give us.”

“The members of this massive drug trafficking ring thought they were clever enough to get away with selling deadly opioids to Floridians, but they couldn’t outsmart Sheriff Chitwood’s deputies and our Statewide Prosecutors,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, whose Office of Statewide Prosecution will be taking the cases. “This is the second massive opioid takedown on Florida’s East Coast this month, and these arrests should serve as a strong warning to anyone trying to sell poison to Floridians—that we will catch you and you will pay for your crimes.”

In early 2018, the Volusia Bureau of Investigation (VBI) and East Volusia Narcotics Task Force (EVNTF) identified Green’s organization as responsible for distributing multiple kilograms of heroin and cocaine on a monthly basis in east Volusia County. Detectives worked to identify various members of the organization, most of whom had significant criminal histories. All combined, the criminal histories of those connected to the organization total more than 300 felony charges and 124 felony convictions, which included narcotics offenses and violent crimes.

Enforcement action taken throughout the course of the investigation resulted in the seizure of significant amounts of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. It’s also believed the organization is connected to multiple overdose deaths that remain under active investigation by the VCSO’s Major Case Unit. There were approximately 300 overdose deaths in Volusia County over the past two years.

The defendants in custody as of this writing are:

·         Marcel Green (DOB 11/20/1987), 106 Grey Widgeon Court, Daytona Beach

·         Robert Hamilton Jr. (DOB 5/30/1984), 20 China Moon Drive, Ormond Beach

·         Michael Jolly (DOB 4/9/1974), 1227 Deneece Terrace, Daytona Beach

·         Mavis Williams (DOB 1/30/1978), 511 Cannon St., Daytona Beach

·         Karlee Harbst (DOB 4/27/1992), 702 Normandy Blvd., Port Orange

·         Jessica Gorman (DOB 1/3/1993), 1166 W. Wellington Drive, Deltona

·         John Organ (DOB 8/14/1985), 33 Bunker Lane, Palm Coast

·         Lee Wiley II (DOB 11/23/1976), 1033 Thunderbird Drive, Daytona Beach


Search warrants were executed today at the following locations:

·         609 Cassin Ave., Daytona Beach

·         511 Cannon St., Daytona Beach

·         20 China Moon Drive, Ormond Beach

·         1050 W. 3rd St. #2, Daytona Beach

·         1227 Deneece St., Daytona Beach

·         106 Grey Widgeon Court, Daytona Beach

·         159 Grey Widgeon Court, Daytona Beach

·         1128 Milligan Ave., Daytona Beach

·         784 Alabama St., Daytona Beach

·         810 Jimmy Ann Drive, Daytona Beach (All Aboard Storage, 3 possible units used by Marcel Green)

·         1480 N. Nova Road, Daytona Beach (All Aboard Storage, 3 possible units used by Marcel Green)

The Volusia Bureau of Investigation is a Central Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiative led by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office with participation from the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Daytona Beach Police Department, Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety, DeLand Police Department, Edgewater Police Department and New Smyrna Beach Police Department. The FBI Safe Streets Task Force also participated in this operation.

Story courtesy of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

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