ST. PETERSBURG — Police began searching the city Friday morning for 44 suspected drug dealers, all targets of a four-month narcotics investigation.
The roundup focused on people authorities said were dealing various drugs — including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, Xanax and hydrocodone.
By midafternoon, police had arrested 17 people. One of them was 21-year-old Jeremy Flowers — the youngest son of Pinellas School Board member and former St. Petersburg City Council member Rene Flowers.
Flowers, reached Friday, said she was devastated by her son's arrest.
"I'm very sad right now and trying to keep from crying," she said, adding that she hopes her son "takes this as a learning assignment."
Rene Flowers was in Pasco County for her job. She said she heard about it from a neighbor and then Mayor Bill Foster, who was at the scene of the round-up and was nice enough to call.
State records show Jeremy Flowers already had a criminal record in Florida, including convictions for obstruction and drug possession. His last arrest was in July on a crack cocaine possession charge, court records show.
Detectives interviewed each person arrested with the additional goal of getting information on gun-related crimes in the community, including the illegal possession and selling of firearms.
Officials said eight of the people arrested Friday were part of the targeted group; nine others were arrested because of "accompanying circumstances" during the roundup.
In addition to Jeremy Flowers, the other arrested targets include: Lolita M. Phillips, 40, of 5428 Burlington Ave. N; Jarron Powell, 21, of 3156 47th Ave. S; Jacqual Taliaferro, 22, of 1031 15th St. S, Apt. B; Tony Marion, 53, of 3950 Fifth Ave. S; Trentair Bingham, 20, of 4230 78th St. N; Desserey Rayburn, 27, of 3905 34th St. N, #104; and Tyrone Booker, 30, of 3560 58th St. N.