Four members of a Palm Coast family are among 19 Flagler County residents jailed on drug trafficking charges Friday morning, after Flagler County Sheriff’s Deputies and U.S. Marshals concluded a six-month investigation into prescription drug trafficking with a sweep they called "Operation Jingle Cell."
Gilbert Bridewell, 70, Sheila Bridewell, 61, and their sons Brad Turner, 32, and Tyler Bridewell, 21, were charged with various drug-related offenses. Warrants are still out for another 15 people, most of whom were Palm Coast and Bunnell residents.
“These are people acquiring prescriptions legally, and then reselling them illegally,” Sheriff James Manfre said at a Friday news conference.
Some of the charges were for the trafficking of drugs such as cocaine and cannabis, but most were for illegal possession of prescriptions: hydromorphone and oxycodone. Manfre said he hope the arrests will increase awareness about the danger of prescription drug abuse.
“For the regular public, they see prescriptions as something that’s good for them,” he said. “But if you obtain it illegally or fraudulently, or if you sell it or distribute it, we are going to arrest you and request the courts impose serious prison time.”
Prescription drugs can be especially dangerous since they are mistaken thought of as safe, he said, especially among young people. Many of the buyers, he said, had purchased small quantities: one or two or three pills at a time, generally in homes or in public places.
“This filters down to our kids. It’s a quick, cheap high for young adults,” he said.
The individuals arrested didn’t appear to be part of any larger network, Manfre said, and that made the investigative work harder.
“When you have a network, you can pick off the people at the bottom, and they lead you to the people at the top,” he said. “When you don’t have a network, you have to pick them off individually.”
The lengthy investigation, Manfre said, involved seven two-person teams from the Sheriff’s Office, four men from the U.S. Marshals and five Sheriff’s Office narcotics investigators.
Undersheriff Rick Staly said people who commit drug crimes often get busted for theft, as well.
“If you take the dealers out, what you hope you’ll impact is your larcenies, your burglaries, your robberies,” he said.
Manfre said addicts often target the elderly for burglaries. Many of the people arrested had prior arrests for drug-related offenses.
An investigation into whether doctors were involved in this illegal activity is still underway.
Sheriff Manfre has asked anyone with information on the individuals not yet arrested to call Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida, at 1-888-277-8477.
Suspects still being sought by deputies are listed as follows:
Raleigh Alexander, 40, of 6B Zammer Court in Palm Coast; charge: sale of oxycodone.
Cynthia Bolan, 55, of 202 Deen Road in Bunnell; charge: fraud and sale of oxycodone.
Michael Colon, 27, of 10 Black Oak Court in Palm Coast; charge: sale of MDNA.
Heather Dornan, 36, of 5235 Mahogany Blvd in Bunnell; charge: sale of lorazepam.
Dave Downs, 27, of 62 Bruning Lane in Palm Coast or 21 Empress Lane in Palm Coast; charge: sale of cocaine, 3 counts.
Shawn Dyer, 38, of 9 Second Path in Palm Coast; charges: trafficking Hydrocodone 28g-3kg, possession of schedule IV controlled substance without prescription.
Nicole Gould, 26, of 38 White Dove Lane in Palm Coast; charge: obtain controlled substance by fraud, 6 counts.
Clifford Harris, 28, of 503 S. Cherry Street in Bunnell; charge: sale of hydromorphone.
Kody Lemire, 21, of 24 Rymshaw Drive in Palm Coast; charge: possession of cannabis with intent.
Troy Mickens, 33, of 142 Espanola Road in Bunnell; charge: sale of oxycodone.
Bryan Plummer, 43, of 13 Debra Lane in Palm Coast or 9 Zinc Lane in Palm Coast; charge: possession of amphetamine.
Walter Prather Jr., 30, of 1452 Wildrose Lane in Daytona Beach; charge: sale of hydromorphone.
Kristen Priest, 33, of 4 Woodstone Lane in Palm Coast; charges: sale of hydromorphone, sale of buprenorphine.
Nelson Quinones, 48, of 4 Princess Jennifer Place in Palm Coast; charges: trafficking hydrocodone (4-14gms).
Franklin Watson, 34, of 2 Pony Lane in Palm Coast; charge: sale of crack cocaine.