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Drug arrest in a Port Richey toy store parking lot draws curious onlookers

PORT RICHEY — For several hours Monday afternoon, Toys "R" Us associate Marlene Irizarry watched from the store's window as deputies rifled through a white Saturn in the parking lot and lined the car's hood with what appeared to be prescription bottles.

Like Irizarry, the store's customers were also curious about what was going on outside.

"A lot of people were just a little worried," she said.

At 2 p.m. Monday, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of people "shooting up" in a car parked near the toy store, according to a report.

Inside the vehicle, deputies said they found a baby sock containing two syringes and two disoriented adults, including a woman with a teddy bear tattoo on her arm reportedly drooling on the driver's side window.

Kenny DeGraff, 25, of Port Richey and Emily Turner, 30, of New Port Richey were charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia. Deputies said they found methadone and the antibiotic azithromycin, among other pills, in the car.

DeGraff was later charged with bringing contraband into a detention facility when deputies found a fentanyl patch on his chest at the jail. The patch delivers a dose of an opioid more potent than morphine.

DeGraff's bail was set at $7,150. Turner's is $2,150.

Toys "R" Us associate Irizarry, 24, said the commotion took place near the front of the store.

"I'd say 20 feet from the door," she said.

The store is in the Piers Shopping Center, just north of Gulf View Square mall, off U.S. 19. The Piers has had its share of bad luck over the past year.

In August, county court records show, LaSalle Bank began foreclosure against the shopping center's owners, Kir Piers LP. A judge appointed a receiver last month.

The Piers lost one of its anchors, Circuit City, when the electronics giant went out of business earlier this year.

In January, Target will shut its store in the shopping center. It is one of four under-performing Targets closing nationwide.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at or (813) 435-7312.

Drug arrest in a Port Richey toy store parking lot draws curious onlookers 12/15/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 7:35pm]
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