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Businessman faces new drug charges

A Crystal River business owner, accused of trying to ship marijuana toCitrus County, has been arrested in Gadsden County, Citrus sheriff's officials announced Tuesday.

Richard J. Heffernan, 41, owner of Aquatic Weed Removal Inc., was arrested Jan. 19 on charges of trafficking in more than 100 pounds of marijuana, according to a news release. Two Texas men previously were arrested as part of the same operation.

Bail for Heffernan, who lives in Jacksonville Beach, was set at $500,000. A spokesman for the Gadsden County Jail in Quincy said Heffernan was not in custody.

The Sheriff's Office's Special Investigation Unit conducted a yearlong investigation that led to the three arrests, the news release said. A major portion of the drugs seized during the arrests were destined for Citrus.

In addition, information gathered resulted in more than 20 arrests of local residents on drug charges in August.

In August 1988, Heffernan and his wife, Karal, were sentenced to three years' probation on separate drug charges.