BROOKSVILLE — Jo Leigh Allen was trying to persuade a judge to grant a domestic violence injunction against her mother when, authorities say, she made a startling statement: She worked as an agent for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
"And that she'd been an agent since she was 13," said Brooksville attorney Bob Morris, who represented Allen's mother during Thursday's hearing in front of Hernando County Circuit Judge Stephen E. Toner. "Everybody's heads in the courtroom just kind of snapped, and we were like, what?"
Allen, 36, of Spring Hill made the statement under oath during cross-examination by Morris, who had just asked about her lengthy criminal history. She was seeking the injunction after her mother, Katherine Allen, was arrested last month and accused of slapping her.
A clearly skeptical Toner gave Allen numerous opportunities to change her testimony, warning her that she was required by law to tell the truth, Morris said.
"She dug in deeper and was contemptuous in how she was speaking to the court," Morris said.
Toner halted the hearing and asked Sheriff's Office deputies to check with the DEA, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.
When they confirmed Allen never worked for the agency, Toner found her in contempt of court and sentenced her to five months and 29 days in the Hernando County Detention Center. He did not grant the injunction.
Allen has an arrest history dating back to 1999, including a conviction for providing a false name to a law enforcement officer, state records show.
And though Allen isn't a DEA agent, records show she does have firsthand experience with drugs: She served time in state prison after convictions for possession of methamphetamine, heroin and oxycodone, and for selling or manufacturing cocaine. Other convictions include petty theft, grand theft auto and fleeing law enforcement.
News researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Tony Marrero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1431. Follow @tmarrerotimes on Twitter.