Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco's largest warrants sweep nets 244 arrests

NEW PORT RICHEY — Standing beside a flier reminiscent of a wanted poster from the Old West, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco wanted everyone to know he was laying down the law.

"We want criminals to know we are going to go out there and hunt them down," Nocco said at a news conference Friday to announce a multiagency warrants sweep that netted 244 people on 302 warrants.

Billed as the largest warrants roundup in the agency's history, "Operation Law and Order" began Tuesday and ended Thursday. It focused on people wanted for offenses in Pasco, as well as those with Pasco addresses who were wanted in connection with crimes committed elsewhere in Florida.

Flanked by Dade City police Chief Ray Velboom and New Port Richey acting police Chief James Steffens, as well as members of his own command staff, Nocco spread around the kudos.

"I promise you there were no egos here," he said. "It didn't matter what badge you wore."

The force of more than 100 law enforcement officials targeted hotels, other establishments and homes along U.S. 19 in Holiday, as well as along U.S. 301.

"We lit that whole place up," Nocco said of the Holiday raids.

No one was injured during the sweep, which involved numerous staffers, from jail nurses to dispatchers.

Fugitives ranged from drug dealers to those wanted for aggravated assault and battery. Some of the warrants dated back to 1988.

Deputies also seized a pound of marijuana and various pills.

One scene that Nocco described as heartbreaking involved the arrest of a woman riddled with needle marks. Sleeping in bed next to her was a 1 1/2-year-old boy. Deputies also found two bottles of prescription drugs.

"The problem with prescription pills is overwhelming," Nocco said. Deputies found a relative to take care of the toddler.

"At least we knew he was going to be taken care of that night," Nocco said.

The agency had a warrant backlog of 22,000. It typically gets 1,000 a month and serves 800, which produces a steadily growing backlog.

Nocco, who recently got county commissioners to give him money to hire 23 additional employees to combat prescription drug abuse, said the evidence found during the roundup shows the problem is real.

He also promised more warrant sweeps.

"This is not a one-time thing," he said. "This is a continuing process."

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco announces the results of the warrants sweep during a news conference Friday morning in New Port Richey. The multiagency warrants sweep netted 244 people on 302 warrants. “Operation Law and Order” began Tuesday and ended Thursday. “We want criminals to know we are going to go out there and hunt them down,” Nocco said at the news conference. No one was injured during the sweep, officials said.

STEPHEN J. CODDINGTON | Times

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco announces the results of the warrants sweep during a news conference Friday morning in New Port Richey. The multiagency warrants sweep netted 244 people on 302 warrants. “Operation Law and Order” began Tuesday and ended Thursday. “We want criminals to know we are going to go out there and hunt them down,” Nocco said at the news conference. No one was injured during the sweep, officials said.

Law and order by the numbers

36: duration of the sweep, in hours

1,053: attempts to serve warrants

172: misdemeanor warrants

130: felony warrants

244: suspects arrested

115: law enforcement officers involved

22,000: outstanding warrants before the sweep

9: law enforcement agencies involved in the sweep

Source: Pasco County Sheriff's Office

Pasco's largest warrants sweep nets 244 arrests 10/14/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 14, 2011 9:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman and Baker pull no punches in first forum

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  2. Wildlife officers look for answers in gopher tortoise deaths while reward money piles up

    Wildlife

    The blood had already pooled when the bodies were found, bashed and beaten. One was dead. The other was still gasping, but it was too late.

    A gopher tortoise emerges from a bush to feed on vegetation on Thursday in 2016 at the Moccasin Lake Environmental Education Center in Clearwater. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is investigating the deaths of two tortoises that were beaten and their shells broken in Manatee County. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  3. Airbnb on track to shatter tax revenues brought in last year

    Business

    Airbnb has collected more than $18 million in taxes for Florida state and local governments so far this year, putting it on a fast-track to shatter its 2016 tax collection of $20 million.

    Airbnb has collected more than $18 million in taxes for Florida state and local governments so far this year, putting it on a fast-track to shatter its 2016 tax collection of $20 million.
[Bloomberg file photo]

  4. PSTA foresees no service cuts as it rolls out proposed 2018 budget

    Transportation

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will unveil the first draft of its 2018 budget at Wednesday morning's meeting of the governing board.

    A Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus leaves the terminal at  3180 Central Ave. in St Petersburg in 2014. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  5. What you need to know for Wednesday, June 28

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    St. Petersburg will finally break ground today on its long-awaited downtown Pier. [City of  St. Petersburg]