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Florida fire captain shot to death was involved in drug conspiracy, report says

Prosecutors say the fire captain and his friend who shot him were “in an ongoing conspiracy to distribute narcotics.”
Jay Rind, 63, is charged in the shooting death of his friend, 48-year-old Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Capt. James Gilliard. Drug charges were added against Rind this week.
Jay Rind, 63, is charged in the shooting death of his friend, 48-year-old Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Capt. James Gilliard. Drug charges were added against Rind this week. [ Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Nov. 28, 2020

PALM BEACH GARDENS — A Florida fire-rescue captain who was fatally shot by a friend earlier this month was involved in “an ongoing conspiracy” with him to buy and sell prescription drugs, according to court records.

James Gilliard, 48, was killed Nov. 2 when his friend Jay Rind was showing him a gun he planned to give him, Rind told investigators. He said the gun fired accidentally. Rind, 63, was charged with third-degree felony murder and improper exhibition of a fire arm and booked into jail two days later.

In a probable cause affidavit posted Wednesday, prosecutors added charges of trafficking in morphine, conspiracy to sell oxycodone, conspiracy to sell amphetamines and conspiracy to sell morphine, The Palm Beach Post reported.

Rind had told detectives that he buys and sells jewelry and had known Gilliard for four years. He said he had dinner with Gilliard that night and they went back to Rind’s home so he could give his friend the gun.

According to Rind’s statement to detectives, he was holding a gun to show Gilliard it was empty, when it fired. Gilliard was hit in the abdomen. He was taken to a hospital where he later died.

But the new affidavit said cellphone exchanges between the men show the Nov. 2 meeting was a drug transaction, and that Rind was adding the gun in the deal.

Records show a search of Rind’s cellphone found at least 854 chats or instant messages with Gilliard between Christmas Day 2019 and Nov. 2, with at least 77 of them dealing with “buying, selling or trading” of drugs, the newspaper reported.

“It becomes readily apparent,” the affidavit said, that Rind and another man, along with Gilliard, “were engaged in an ongoing conspiracy to distribute narcotics that Mr. Rind either received prescriptions for, or brought back during his trips to Mexico.”

The affidavit names the other man and says there’s probable cause to charge him in the drug activities. He had not been arrested as of Friday.

The report said an autopsy report on Gilliard showed amphetamines and oxycodone that were “outside therapeutic levels.” Xanax and morphine also were present in him.

The affidavit said that as paramedics worked on Gilliard, officers found $2,280 scattered on the couch.

In Rind’s car, they also found several pills, including Xanax, oxycodone and morphine sulfate, the report said.

Rind’s next court date is Dec. 10. He posted a $20,000 bond Nov. 5 and was released from jail. He is represented by the Palm Beach County Public Defender’s Office, which does not comment on active cases.

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