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Judge says man's arrest violates terms of release

A 20-year-old arrested last month in connection with the largest marijuana bust by the Sheriff's Office in nearly two decades was behind bars again Tuesday.

Jeffrey Matthew Maye of 3444 Augustine Road was being held on $100,000 bail. He was put back in jail by Circuit Judge Jack Springstead Tuesday for allegedly violating the conditions of his release from jail on earlier drug charges.

Maye was arrested Oct. 25 along with his mother, father and brother after authorities seized about 600 pounds of marijuana and three handguns from a family car and the Mayes' home on Augustine Road in Spring Hill. Deputies also seized $86,000 in cash.

Authorities said they spent eight months investigating the family and believe the Mayes distributed drugs to smaller suppliers across Hernando County.

In October, Maye was charged with possession of marijuana over 20 grams, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. For those charges, he was released from jail on his own recognizance and is awaiting court hearings.

Before that arrest, Maye was accused of trafficking a controlled substance. His new arrest violated the conditions of his release, so Springstead reset his bail at $100,000. Maye was put in jail Friday and remained there after the hearing on Tuesday. Maye's next court date is Dec. 7.

Maye's mother, Carolyn Maye, and father, James Maye, were charged with trafficking marijuana and are scheduled to appear in court in January. Maye's brother, James Maye Jr., was charged with trafficking marijuana.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff's Office has asked for a preliminary hearing to take six cars owned by the Maye family and $86,220 seized during the drug bust. Lt. Joe Paez said the office is trying to arrange a hearing to begin discussions with the Maye family.

The Mayes' attorney, Mark Goettel of New Port Richey, said he will fight the action and will argue that none of the Mayes' cars, including a 1994 Chevrolet Suburban, a 1974 Pontiac Ventura, a 1982 Chevrolet pickup, a 1984 Chevrolet Blazer and 1965 and 1971 Chevrolet Novas, were bought with drug money or used for illegal purposes.

"They absolutely did not use those cars for anything illegal," Goettel said. He noted that the Sheriff's Office has been busy collecting the Mayes' financial records.

He said the Mayes are in the process of filing a civil rights claim against the Sheriff's Office for poor treatment of the Mayes by deputies.

Federal forfeiture statues allow authorities to seize objects that are bought with money from illegal activity or used in illegal activities. The Sheriff's Office does not have to wait until someone has been convicted to begin forfeiture proceedings, Paez said.

To obtain the property, the Sheriff's Office will have to provide clear and convincing evidence that crimes occurred and that the vehicles were related to them.

Paez said that in the past the office has used seized vehicles for undercover operations or has sold them. The money goes into a fund at the court clerk's office that Sheriff Richard Nugent can request for investigations, Paez said.

_ Jamie Jones covers law enforcement in Hernando County and can be reached at 352-754-6114 or by e-mail at jjonessptimes.com.

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