If it weren't for a flat tire and a missed turn, Joshua A. Acton and Richard V. Titus might have lots of drugs and plenty of cash by now, they told sheriff's deputies.
Instead, both are being held without bail at the Citrus County jail on charges of drug possession and conspiring to commit a crime and are awaiting federal firearms charges.
At 3:07 a.m. Thursday, two deputies cruised along U.S. 19 near Homosassa. They saw a white Toyota Camry parked in Sunny Days Plaza. Two men stood next to the car, trying to change a flat tire, officials said.
The deputies pulled up to the car to help out. Titus, 22, of Tampa and Acton, 22, of Lutz said they drove from Tampa to meet some acquaintances at the Circle K at U.S. 19 and W Cardinal Street. The men didn't know the area, though, and missed the turn. Now, they were stranded in an unfamiliar county with a flat tire.
As the deputies listened to the men's story, they noticed that one man appeared to be under the influence of some type of drug, authorities said. The officers asked the men permission to search the Camry. The men said the car belonged to one of their girlfriends, and they wouldn't be comfortable with a search. Instead, the officers used a dog to search the outside of the car.
The dog, canine deputy Kane, alerted the deputies to a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun and a semiautomatic assault rifle in the car. The officers also found a small amount of marijuana in the car, according to a sheriff's report.
The officers arrested both men on charges of possession of marijuana and took them to the nearby Homosassa sheriff's substation for more questioning. There, the men told the deputies they planned to drive to Citrus to rob a drug dealer, according to the report.
Titus and Acton told authorities they were short on money and had a lot of bills to pay, so they figured they would rob a Homosassa man they knew who had a lot of narcotics and cash. They planned to meet the man and another acquaintance at the Circle K, but they couldn't find it and then got a flat tire.
They told authorities that after the robbery, they planned to divide the drugs and money. Both men will face federal firearm charges from the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to the report.