Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa drug sweep nets 41, among them Storm's Kenyatta Jones

Sammie Hall, 52, is put in a patrol car near his E Powhattan Avenue home in Tampa, after being arrested Wednesday. Paul Triolo, far left, an officer with the Tampa Police Department, was among those rounding up suspects in a squad car.

CARRIE PRATT | Times

Sammie Hall, 52, is put in a patrol car near his E Powhattan Avenue home in Tampa, after being arrested Wednesday. Paul Triolo, far left, an officer with the Tampa Police Department, was among those rounding up suspects in a squad car.

TAMPA — Narcotics officers made more than three dozen arrests early Wednesday, capping a five-month investigation of two drug trafficking organizations and four cells across the state.

Among those charged was Tampa Bay Storm offensive lineman Kenyatta Jones, 29, who detectives monitored arranging a drug buy from a dealer, a Tampa police spokeswoman said.

Officials said detectives had arrested 41 people Wednesday and expected that number to rise to include 70. They seized 16 kilograms of powder cocaine valued at up to $240,000, 25 pounds of marijuana, 100 grams of crack cocaine, 16 firearms, 23 vehicles and $239,000 in cash.

Dubbed the "34th Street Initiative," the roundup was prompted by citizen complaints in neighborhoods near Hillsborough Avenue and 34th Street and in North Boulevard Homes, a public housing project.

Detectives said they learned the drug sales were backed by the same suppliers and launched the massive investigation, which involved officers from Tampa and Plant City, Lee, Pasco and Hillsborough counties, as well as federal authorities.

Police have identified Francisco Pecina, 34, of Gibsonton, Michael Jones Jr., 35, of Riverview and Elliott Walden Jr., 27, of Tampa as the suppliers in the operation. All three men are currently in jail.

Kenyatta Jones, a former University of South Florida player who joined the Storm after playing in the NFL for New England and Washington, turned himself in around 4 p.m., according to jail records.

Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said officers overheard him arranging to buy from one of the dealers, then watched him as he purchased less than a gram of cocaine and less then a gram of marijuana.

"He was not a significant player in the investigation," McElroy said.

Jones, who has one year left on his Storm contract, has had other run-ins with the law.

In March, he was arrested after police said he attempted to urinate on the dance floor at a Tampa nightclub. While in the NFL in 2003, he was accused of scalding a roommate with hot water. Jones pleaded innocent to charges associated with the incident, but according to the Washington Post, "received a year's probation from a Massachusetts court." A month after the incident, the New England Patriots, whom he had previously been a starter for, released him.

Storm spokesman Jim Robinson, had this to say:

"We are very concerned because these are serious accusations. We'll gather information and let the legal process work its way out, and comment after we have more information."

Wednesday's roundup began at 3 a.m. and continued all day. Investigators were searching for 27 other people late Wednesday. They will face charges that include racketeering and felony drug trafficking of cocaine.

The drugs have come from Mexico, Texas, Atlanta and Lee County, though the main source is unknown, police said.

At a news conference announcing the arrests, Tampa narcotics commander Capt. Hugh Miller said more than 65 officers spent about 40,000 hours tracking the suspects.

"This was a homegrown effort and each of our partners had a very significant part," he said.

Staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report. Eric Smithers can be reached at esmithers@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3339.

Tampa drug sweep nets 41, among them Storm's Kenyatta Jones 07/23/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries

    Blogs

    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.