Sunday, November 19, 2017
Public safety

Zephyrhills drug bust nets guns, cash, pills (w/video)

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It was an elaborate fraud scheme involving prescription drugs, thousands of dollars and piles of guns. But Pasco sheriff's deputies were most disturbed that Mark Eisenberg brought small children to his deals with drug addicts.

Eisenberg's scheme, detailed in a news conference Tuesday by Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco and detectives, was to drive addicts to doctors' offices in Tampa where they were prescribed pills. Eisenberg, 55, would pay for the appointments in exchange for a majority cut of the pills.

He would then sell those pills out of his car, bringing along his 7- and 8-year-old family members, Nocco said. Eisenberg took payment in the form of food stamps, gift cards and cash. Detectives did not give specifics on how much money was on the EBT and gift cards. They said Eisenberg spent a substantial portion of the money on the more than 20 guns piled on a table at the news conference.

Detectives said Eisenberg ran a store called Carpet Outlet, 5527 Gall Blvd. in Zephyrhills, and used it as a front for his drug deals. Another local business owner tipped police to what was going on in May 2013.

"This guy had no concern for anybody in the community," Nocco said, "not even little kids."

The yearlong investigation led to a search on Friday at Eisenberg's home, 29341 Laughridge Place in Wesley Chapel, where detectives found money buried in his back yard, several guns in the house and Eisenberg's 7-year-old son and a 8-year-old relative, who was returned to her parents. Eisenberg's girlfriend, Joyce Stafford, also was there and knew of the drug deals, authorities said.

Eisenberg was charged with trafficking and drug possession and knowingly possessing more than five identifications. He remained in the Land O'Lakes jail Tuesday in lieu of $674,000 bail. Sgt. Bill Davis said investigators will check to make sure that any money Eisenberg uses to post bail was not made through drug sales.

Stafford, 49, also was arrested on charges of possessing marijuana, controlled substances and paraphernalia. She was released Friday after posting $7,150 bail.

More charges may be brought against Eisenberg as the investigation continues. Davis said detectives are also looking at more people who may have been involved in the crimes.

"Keep it up," Davis said at the conference, addressing drug dealers in Pasco. "We'll find you. And we'll arrest you."

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