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FDLE inspector jailed on child porn counts

By wire services
Published October 5, 2005

TALLAHASSEE - A veteran inspector in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement who was awarded a Bronze Star in Iraq with his Army Reserve unit was charged Tuesday with 50 criminal child pornography counts.

Raymond Meresse, 58, was taken to the Leon County Jail, agency spokesman Tom Berlinger said.

The FDLE investigation began about a month ago when its internal security system alerted investigators that the inspector was using a state-owned computer to access pornographic Internet sites. It was later found that some of those sites contained child pornography.

Meresse was charged with 46 counts of possession of child pornography, three counts of distribution of child pornography, and one count of attempting to distribute child pornography.

Meresse was awarded a Bronze Star in June for his performance as the wartime group command sergeant major of both the 375th Transportation Group and the 143rd TRANSCOM during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

St. Joe Co. renews idea of developing near Tyndall

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - The St. Joe Co., Florida's largest private landowner, may revive plans to build a new community just outside Tyndall Air Force Base. Local military boosters are worried.

St. Joe spokesman Jerry Ray said Monday the company has discussed a possible annexation by Mexico Beach, which would remove the land from Bay County zoning jurisdiction. Company officials also are meeting this week with state wildlife officials, a prelude to a permit request.

Jacksonville-based St. Joe once asked the county to rezone 400 acres on the east side of Tyndall, the county's largest employer, for residential and commercial development. The company dropped its request in 2002 after the Bay Defense Alliance argued it could hurt Tyndall during this year's national Base Realignment and Closure Commission considerations.

The site is under the approach to Tyndall's main runway and near areas where explosives are stored and tested. The base trains F-15 Eagle and F/A-22 Raptor pilots and conducts weapons tests with pilotless target drones. The Air Force said in 2002 that St. Joe's plan would create unavoidable noise and safety problems.

Encroachment was a major factor in deciding which bases should be closed. The panel's recommendations are pending before Congress.

Investigators say 14 men abducted and raped teen

IMMOKALEE - Fourteen field laborers broke into an 18-year-old woman's home, dragged her across the street and took turns raping her, investigators said.

The Collier County Sheriff's Office said the men, ranging from 18 to 56 years old, attacked the woman early Saturday, then pushed her out the door. She walked to her landlord's home and called police, and deputies rounded up the men, still at the house.

Each was charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment and sexual battery by multiple perpetrators. All were in jail without bail Tuesday. Twelve of the men are from Guatemala, one from Puerto Rico and one from Mexico.

The woman told deputies the men choked and hit her until she lost consciousness. She awoke as a man was pouring alcohol into her mouth, and the men then raped her, she said.

"She couldn't pick out exactly who did what, but she could verbalize bits about what happened," sheriff's spokeswoman Kristin Adams said. "Her quick thinking made it possible for us to make the arrests."

[Last modified October 5, 2005, 01:13:09]

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