Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

Coast Guard vessel returns to St. Petersburg with $36 million in seized drugs

ST. PETERSBURG

Coast Guard vessel returns with $36m in seized drugs

A Coast Guard vessel returned to port Sunday with $36 million worth of cocaine and marijuana seized in overseas operations.

The 210-foot Coast Guard cutter Resolute recovered the drugs during a 10-week deployment in the western Caribbean, according to a news release.

On Sept. 27, a patrolling Coast Guard helicopter spotted a 35-foot "go-fast boat" off the coast of Honduras. Four suspected drug smugglers jumped from the boat in an attempt to escape, the Coast Guard said.

The Resolute's crew pulled the suspected smugglers from the water and stopped the unmanned go-fast boat, where they discovered 53 bales of cocaine, weighing nearly 3,000 pounds and worth about $35 million.

The Resolute turned the four suspected smugglers over to U.S. authorities.

In another incident, the helicopter tracked a go-fast boat that ditched its cargo: 45 bales of marijuana, weighing about 1,500 pounds. The smugglers escaped into Nicaraguan waters, the Coast Guard said. The Resolute retrieved the $1 million drug load.

The Resolute's arrival Sunday to its home port in St. Petersburg coincided with another Coast Guard vessel's return to Port Canaveral. There, the Confidence brought back more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana Sunday from antidrug operations south of Cuba.

WESLEY CHAPEL

Motorcyclist dies in crash with SUV

A sport utility vehicle making a U-turn Saturday night struck and killed a motorcyclist, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Just before 11 p.m., a Ford Explorer was driving east on State Road 54, near Old County Road 54. Turning to head in the other direction, the SUV pulled into the path of a westbound motorcycle, troopers said. The motorcycle collided with the front right side of the SUV, troopers said. The motorcyclist, 22-year-old Robert Adam Szymanowski III of Land O'Lakes, died at the scene. The 20-year-old driver of the SUV, Kayla Ashton Ceglenski of Montana, was not injured in the crash, the patrol said. Nor was her passenger, Krystin Lynn Dodson, 21, of Defuniak Springs. Troopers said alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the collision. The two women were wearing seat belts, and Szymanowski was wearing a helmet. The crash remains under investigation.

TAMPA

Clearwater man dies in I-4 exit ramp crash

A Clearwater man died early Sunday after he lost control of his motorcycle, authorities say. Ryan Sorsby, 26, was driving on the Interstate 4 westbound ramp to Interstate 275 south around 3:30 a.m., when he lost control his motorcycle while attempting to make the curve, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. He was thrown from the 2002 Yamaha R1 and flipped over the concrete barrier wall under the I-275 underpass. He died at the scene, authorities said. An investigation is ongoing.

CLEARWATER

Woman accused of forcing kids into home

Police arrested a woman Saturday who they say forced two children into her apartment. It happened two weeks ago at an apartment complex off Fairwood Avenue, near U.S. 19 and Drew Street, police said. Sarah Graham Tafaro, 55, invited the children into her unit. They said no and told her they weren't allowed to go inside. That's when police say Tafaro grabbed their arms and pulled the two children into her apartment. She closed the door. The children were scared, police said, and felt like they couldn't leave. After five minutes, they opened the door and ran outside. Police found out about the incident when several parents confronted Tafaro for taking photographs of their children without permission, according to an arrest affidavit. The affidavit indicates that Tafaro may suffer from mental health issues. Tafaro was taken to the Pinellas County Jail on Saturday afternoon and charged with two counts of child abuse and two counts of false imprisonment. She posted bail and was released the next morning.

TAMPA

Police ID man found shot to death in car

Police have identified the man found shot to death in a parked car Saturday as 20-year-old Derrick J. Dixon. Dixon's body was found in a car parked near 6708 Shadeville Lane in Tampa, police said. Dixon drove to the River Oaks Apartments around 9:30 p.m. to drop off a friend. He was sitting in his car in front of the building when an unidentified person approached him and fired shots into his car, police said. Dixon attempted to drive away, but died a short distance away, police said. Police had no suspects as of Sunday night. An investigation is ongoing.

TREASURE ISLAND

Police: Man's path to jail starts at condos

Police say Edgard A. Santiago has a routine. Every time the homeless man wants to go to jail, he walks up to the same condominium complex — Mansions by the Sea, 7650 Bayshore Drive. He calls up a random unit and asks whoever answers to call the police. He's done it about 30 times since 2009, jail records show, as often as twice a month and a couple of times with an added burglary charge. Sometimes, he racks up multiple counts of trespassing in one trip. Sometimes he gives his first name as "Edger." Before he became a regular at Mansions by the Sea, he trespassed six times one summer in Hillsborough County. Early Sunday — not four days out of from his last arrest — Treasure Island police say Santiago remained faithful to his routine. He didn't seem to be drunk, on drugs or crazy, an affidavit noted. Around 5:30 a.m., 58-year-old Santiago went back to jail.

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