St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • College board delegates its powers
  • Bush plan siphons trust funds
  • Plane crashes; family aboard is safe
  • Man wants change of venue in coming trials
  • Girl Scouts having tough time finding troop leaders
  • Around the state: Mother, daughter killed in crash; 2 girls injured
  • Weight of experience goes to state Senate
  • Columbia: For Space Coast, loss hits home
  • Investigators: Drug ring used mobile home

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story
  • tampabay.com

    printer version

    Investigators: Drug ring used mobile home

    ©Associated Press
    February 3, 2003

    PANAMA CITY -- Authorities say they have made North Florida's largest cocaine seizure -- 231 pounds -- and obtained guilty pleas from 13 suspects.

    Investigators suspect the drug ring used a mobile home to smuggle 3,500 pounds of cocaine worth millions of dollars into the Florida Panhandle from El Paso, Texas, during the last two years, Bay County Sheriff Guy Tunnell said Friday.

    Texas, Florida, federal and local law enforcement officials seized the 231 pounds between May and August, most of it in Bay County, as well as 40 vehicles.

    Investigators in Bay County also seized 794 tablets of Ecstasy, $10,000 worth of firearms, $210,000 in cash and $100,000 in electronics.

    "This was the top of the pyramid. These people weren't down on the streets," said sheriff's Investigator Tony Walker.

    Alleged ringleader Chedric Gadson, 29, is facing a life sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and marijuana. Seven of the other defendants also could get life sentences.

    "Operation Have Van Will Travel" began with a citizen reporting a suspicious van.

    Most of the suspects came to Bay County from Fort Lauderdale in early 2000, Walker said. Gadson moved to Port St. Joe about the same time when released from prison after serving two years for cocaine possession and carrying a concealed firearm.

    By spring 2002, Gadson had a network of rental houses and storage units in Panama City for the drug operation, investigators said.

    Suspects would meet customers in public places, put them in the back of the van and take them to a "stash house," Walker said.

    Drugs were brought from Texas in the mobile home with two cars serving as lookouts, Walker said. If necessary, the lookout drivers diverted police attention from the mobile home by breaking traffic laws, he said.

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
     
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan


    From the Times state desk