HUDSON — Elton "Scrappy" Gaffney, 39, has been in the Pasco jail since Feb. 10 on charges he stole a transient's Taser and tried to burn down the woods where dozens of homeless people live. Now he is also charged with threatening and extorting the homeless so he could get their Social Security checks.
According to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, Gaffney threatened them with "death and great bodily harm" if they did not pay him for his "protection" of the camp, which is in the woods along the west side of U.S. 19 just south of Beacon Woods Drive. If they did not cooperate, the report said, he threatened to bring his "home boys from the Black Panthers" and "kill everyone in the camp." He is also accused of beating a woman and stealing her tent and belongings because she refused to work as a prostitute for him.
Gaffney, who has spent more than 10 years in prison, is charged with extortion threats, as well as the previous charges. He is being held at the Pasco jail in lieu of $41,150 bail.