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Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

8 people arrested in connection with drugs and gambling in Hastings

By meerna Jun12,2024

According to the St. County Sheriff’s Office Johns, eight people were arrested on drug charges following an undercover investigation at a Hastings grocery store.

Detectives confiscated slot machines, drug paraphernalia and $400,000 in cash as part of Operation Express Jackpot, investigators say.

The sheriff’s office has received numerous tips from people about the 207 Express store on West Church Street, just a block from the Hastings Library, also known as Florida 207, the sheriff’s office said.

“Our citizens came to us with their concerns and our detectives responded immediately. … Remember, if you see something, say something,” Sheriff Rob Hardwick said in a Facebook video.

Investigators filmed Hastings store during raid on May 31, 2024 | St. County Sheriff’s Office Johns

The sheriff’s office said a preliminary investigation revealed evidence of drugs and illegal gambling inside and outside the store.

The sheriff’s office said undercover detectives there purchased drug paraphernalia and played some electronic slot machines. The sheriff’s office said they also made several drug purchases in the parking lot.

Based on these investigations, the Sheriff’s Office issued a search warrant on May 31. Investigators found four gambling machines, a large amount of drug paraphernalia and equipment to pay gambling winners. They also confiscated approximately $400,000 in cash.

Jail and court records show the eight people charged are Hui Fang, Iris Liu, Reginald Smith, James Patterson, Yvonne Hall, Silas Green, William Peeples, Phillip Myers and Sherry Williams.

The sheriff’s office said four electronic gambling machines were confiscated during the May 31, 2024 raid. | St. County Sheriff’s Office Johns

The sheriff’s office said further investigation revealed a number of problems with electrical equipment and food storage at the store, resulting in numerous citations being issued.

The investigation is still active. The sheriff’s office asks anyone with information to call (904) 824-8304 or leave an anonymous tip with First Coast Crime Stoppers at (888) 277-8477 (TIPS).

By meerna

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