Thursday, November 15, 2018
Public safety

Port Richey employee facing drug, fake ID-manufacturing charges resigns

PORT RICHEY — An information technology specialist for the city has resigned after he was charged with using city equipment to make fake driver's licenses and growing marijuana at his rental home — a house owned by the city's fire chief.

Port Richey officials expressed shock after learning of the allegations against Anthony Ryan Conley, 29, who authorities say admitted his actions.

Pasco sheriff's deputies arrested Conley last month at his home at 4312 Admiral Drive in New Port Richey, which is owned by Port Richey fire Chief Tim Fussell.

Detectives went to the home on the morning of Oct. 24 after receiving an anonymous tip that Conley was "growing a lot of drugs," according to a sheriff's report.

When Conley opened the front door, the detectives could smell marijuana, and Conley admitted having a grow operation in the house. After Conley signed a consent form for a search, the detectives found four plants weighing 15 pounds, along with drug paraphernalia. He denied selling marijuana, saying it was for personal use, the report stated.

Detectives also found 12 "fraudulent driver's license cards" in a drawer in a bedroom, along with three computer towers and a Xerox printer owned by the city. In addition, they found a shirt and hat with Port Richey Police Department insignias, and a pair of handcuffs owned by the city, all of which were turned over to the Police Department.

Authorities say Conley admitted that he made the fake driver's licenses with city equipment that is used to make employee identification cards. He told the detectives he provided the fake licenses to friends who are under the age of 21 so they could buy alcohol, according to the sheriff's report.

Conley, who did not return a phone call from the Tampa Bay Times seeking comment, has pleaded not guilty in Circuit Court to charges of cultivation of marijuana, possession of not more than 20 grams of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and manufacture/possession of counterfeit driver's licenses, according to court records.

Fussell, the fire chief, said he was "shocked" by the arrest, but intends to let Conley continue to live in the house. Fussell said Conley has been renting the home from him since 2013, and there never had been a problem. He added that Conley was a respected and well-liked employee for the city of Port Richey.

"He's a good guy who made a mistake. I'm not one to kick someone who is down," Fussell said. "He knows he has got some responsibilities to take care of, and as long as he does that maybe this will be the thing to help him turn his life around."

City Manager Tom O'Neill told the Times he was informed of the arrest the day it happened. O'Neill said he immediately put Conley, who has worked for the city since 2010 and made $38,563 a year, on unpaid leave and cut off his access to city computer systems. Conley resigned Oct. 31.

"I was surprised and disappointed," O'Neill said of the arrest. "I thought he did a good job. He is very capable. I guess I was just shocked."

Comments
Two SUVs collide in Pasco intersection, injuring eight people

Two SUVs collide in Pasco intersection, injuring eight people

They were all riding in the vehicles that crashed at State Road 52 and Hayes Road.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Animal activist who threw fisherman's catch back in the water on trial in Clearwater Friday

Animal activist who threw fisherman's catch back in the water on trial in Clearwater Friday

Michael Leaming threw a fisherman's catch back in the water to “save it,” went viral with millions of views, and now faces trial for what he did.
Updated: 6 hours ago

Pasco deputies: Stop. Driving. By. Stopped. School. Buses.

Deputies started monitoring school bus stops on U.S. 19 after the Sheriff’s Office heard complaints that drivers aren’t stopping.
Updated: 9 hours ago
Police: French bulldog puppy, worth thousands, fraudulently purchased at Largo pet store

Police: French bulldog puppy, worth thousands, fraudulently purchased at Largo pet store

Largo police are searching for a person they say stole a French bulldog puppy from a puppy store in Largo. Police are searching Hillsborough County, where the suspect is said to reside.
Updated: 9 hours ago
Police release name of man accused of leading officers on car chase that ended in crash

Police release name of man accused of leading officers on car chase that ended in crash

Reginald Mosley, 31, is charged with fleeing from police and attempted carjacking, among other crimes. A passenger in the car he was driving is still at large.
Updated: 12 hours ago
Charges are being filed against the homeless vet and couple who raised $400,000 for him online

Charges are being filed against the homeless vet and couple who raised $400,000 for him online

The heart warming story of a homeless veteran who saved a woman was all a scheme to make money, prosecutors in New Jersey say.
Published: 11/15/18
Wesley Chapel baby dies after falling into a pool, authorities say

Wesley Chapel baby dies after falling into a pool, authorities say

Masir White, who was 10 months old, died at the hospital that night, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
Published: 11/15/18
Note in accused killer's car led authorities to Hernando park ranger's body

Note in accused killer's car led authorities to Hernando park ranger's body

Jeffrey Morrison told authorities in June that he'd killed his girlfriend, Mitzi Babb. When they searched his car, they found a message on a piece of cardboard that led them to a river.
Published: 11/15/18
The Daystarter: The Rays’ Blake Snell takes the Cy Young; Red Tide is stalling the growth of Pinellas tourism; and catch up on all the latest Florida recount news.

The Daystarter: The Rays’ Blake Snell takes the Cy Young; Red Tide is stalling the growth of Pinellas tourism; and catch up on all the latest Florida recount news.

The Daystarter: What’s it like to be called up the NHL; this father had a foreboding sense about his son; check out all the Tampa Bay Times’ podcasts.
Published: 11/15/18
‘Zack’ Chronister, son of Hillsborough’s sheriff, gets prison time for knife attack

‘Zack’ Chronister, son of Hillsborough’s sheriff, gets prison time for knife attack

A circuit judge sentenced George Zachary Chronister to 22 months in prison for stabbing and slashing the face of another man during a 2017 fight.
Published: 11/14/18
Updated: 11/15/18