By TIMES WIRES
Published May 19, 2007
NEW PORT RICHEY
FOOTBALL PLAYER ACCUSED OF ROBBERY, BEATING
A Gulf High School football player is accused of breaking a man's jaw and ripping a $400, ruby-studded gold crucifix from his neck. When Julian Raymona Ford was asked why he landed so many blows on the victim, authorities say, the 17-year-old said he was angry. Ford was arrested May 3 on campus on a charge of strong-arm robbery. A second suspect is being sought in the attack. Because of the arrest, Ford's senior year of football could be in jeopardy. He was projected to start at fullback and linebacker. Ford was being held in the juvenile detention center Friday, according to coach Jay Fulmer, who declined to comment further.
Seized money will go to Sheriff's Office
A judge this week ordered the disbursement of about $675, 000 seized in the investigation of a downtown Mexican general store owner. Jose Frias, who was arrested in March, faces a racketeering charge after a two-year investigation in which authorities said Frias filtered millions of dollars through his check-cashing business. He could have gotten up to 10 years in prison if convicted in a trial, but the criminal case is headed for a plea agreement with no jail time, according to prosecutors and Frias' attorney. The order signed this week by Circuit Judge Wayne Cobb and agreed to by all parties awards $525, 000 to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and $75, 000 to Frias' two attorneys, leaving just $75, 000 in a Wachovia Bank account that had been frozen while the case was pending.
1, 000 plants seized in marijuana raid
A federal raid at eight residences in Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties Thursday yielded seven arrests and nearly 1, 000 marijuana plants. According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court Friday, authorities launched an investigation last year because they suspected the homes were used as indoor marijuana farms. Drug Enforcement Administration agents executed eight search warrants Thursday.
Authorities search for boat's owner
A search was under way Friday in the Gulf of Mexico after authorities found an abandoned boat in the water near the Pasco County coastline. The 17-foot, white flats boat was registered to Michael Curl, 50, of Hernando Beach, according to Coast Guard spokeswoman Tasha Tully. Authorities said two boaters found Curl's boat Friday morning about a mile west of the Pithlachascotee River.
Chase ends in ex-convicts' arrests
A car chase early Friday led to the arrest of two convicted felons on a bevy of charges. Hernando deputies began pursuing a white Ford pickup about 2 a.m. after it was seen leaving a closed shopping center. The two men ditched the truck in a subdivision and ran. A Sheriff's Office helicopter helped find them nearby. Authorities determined the truck was stolen and found burglary tools and a sawed-off shotgun inside. The driver, Levi N. Neel, 22, of Haines City, and passenger, Michael Armstrong, 26, of Hudson, face multiple charges.