Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Public safety

Four-month investigation leads to drug, firearms charges in Hernando

A four-month investigation intended to help clean the streets of drugs and weapons ended this week with the arrest of eight people and the recovery of numerous firearms and illegal drugs, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies seized 11 firearms, including rifles and a shotgun, 17.1 grams of crack cocaine, six tablets of oxycodone and a small amount of marijuana. They also seized three vehicles.

Col. Mike Maurer said he was concerned by the amount of firearms and drugs found in this case.

"Guns and drugs are a violent combination, and we will continue to take an aggressive approach to the arrest and prosecution of these cases," he said in a statement.

The eight people arrested face a variety of drug charges, including possession and sale of oxycodone and crack cocaine.

In addition to the drug charges, 61-year-old Gerald Mullins of Weeki Wachee faces a charge of possessing a firearm with an altered serial number.

The others arrested in the investigation include: Spencer Bennett, 36, of Weeki Wachee; Michael Stambaugh, 37, of Spring Hill; Thomas Musial, 52, of Spring Hill; Peggy O'Neill, 48, address unavailable; Eric Batcheller, 41, of Spring Hill; Danielle Hodge, 31, of Spring Hill, and John Lewandowski, 47, of Brooksville.

The Sheriff's Office executed the search warrants at three different locations across the county.

Authorities found 2.1 grams of crack cocaine, five handguns, five rifles, one shotgun, numerous rounds of ammunition and drug paraphernalia at 7169 Algonquin St. in Weeki Wachee.

At 7055 Merrick Lane in Spring Hill, they discovered trace amounts of cocaine, drug paraphernalia and a stolen license plate.

They found a tenth of a gram of marijuana and drug paraphernalia at 4017 Portillo Road in Spring Hill.

Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. Tweet him @HernandoTimes.

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