Of the 36 original suspects identified in the local heroin sting operation, just four remain sought by law enforcement – Austin Jaye Crunk, Darby Kate Schwien, Matthew Scott Rubin, John Frances Wigfield.
By Bob Heist | 315-4404 | @bobheistNWFDN | firstname.lastname@example.org
While four suspects remain at-large from the Operation Shady Lane heroin trafficking sting conducted in Okaloosa County, details on the extensive operation have been released by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, including three department members recognized for outstanding work during the yearlong-plus investigation.
According to a post on the OCSO Facebook page, the investigation that began in February 2016 resulted in:
—36 total arrests (4 remain at-large), six of whom were arrested for trafficking amounts of drugs
—Seizure of 11 ounces of heroin, 7 ounces of cocaine, $25,000 in U.S. currency, multiple firearms (1 stolen), and a sawed off shotgun.
OCSO noted that the investigation entailed identifying a drug trafficking organization and tying members engaged in the conspiracy by informant interviews, controlled buys, and digital evidence investigative techniques to dismantle the organization.
After enough evidence was gathered, it was presented for a wiretap investigation to the Northwest Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and to the State Attorney, who eventually approved the investigation to continue.
While the Sheriff’s Office stated that everyone in Special Investigations and personnel from the Criminal Investigations Sections played an important role in Operation Shady Lane, Lt. Dave Allen, Investigator Branden Findley and Investigator Mitch Landis were cited for going above and beyond to ensure the operation’s success.
The most recent arrest in the case occurred on July 6 when Brittany Brahmstedt, 24, of Niceville, was booked into the Okaloosa County Jail on charges for possession of controlled substance without prescription and use of a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony. She was released two days later on $5,000 bond for each charge.
As law enforcement remains vigilant in completing the arrest of all 36 suspects identified in the operation, just four suspects remain at-large after the sting operation was announced at a June 2 press conference by Sheriff Larry Ashley.
Still sought are alleged customers of the heroin ring:
Austin Jaye Crunk, 21, Fort Walton Beach
Darby Kate Schwien, 20, hometown not available
Matthew Scott Rubin, 21, hometown not available
John Frances Wigfield, 27, Crestview
Numerous arrests were made in mid-to-late June, including Justin Ralph Diaz, 42, whose most recent address was in Destin. Diaz was booked on the original charges announced when the multi-agency operation was made public — possession controlled substance without prescription and use of a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony.
Diaz made a $2,500 bond and was released from the Okaloosa County Jail, but he landed back in the detention facility on July 2 on charges for failure to register motor vehicle, driving while license suspended or revoked 3rd offense, failure to have proper endorsement on driver’s license. Bond was then revoked on the original charges in the drug sting and he remains in the county jail.
Identified as a dealer for Kijonte Malik Bennett, an immediate associate of the heroin operation’s ring leader Aaron Dawson, Diaz was released from the state prison system on Oct. 1, 2016, following a 2-year sentence for possession of meth, possession of cocaine, burglary and grand theft.
The Daily News reported earlier, just like the recent arrest of Diaz, that Marco Lionel Agee, Angel Christopher Godinez, Dana Marie Stelle and James Kyle Herrington all had landed behind bars again since their initial arrests in the operation.
Godinez, 25, of Fort Walton Beach, was charged with trafficking cocaine or a mixture between 28 grams and 150 kilograms, trafficking heroin between 4 grams and 30 kilograms, and possession of drug equipment. He is currently being held on a combined $102,000 bond, including $50,000 each on the first two charges for trafficking.
Also arrested and remaining held without bond is James Kyle Herrington, 31, of Fort Walton Beach. Herrington was charged with probation violation of the original charges for possession controlled substance without prescription, possession marijuana under 20 grams and possession drug equipment.
Agee was arrested for trafficking cocaine between 28 grams and 150 kilograms, and possession drug equipment. Bond was revoked on a previous charge of trafficking cocaine under 20 grams.
Agee has had a $54,500 bond set for the two latest offenses, plus previous charges of possession controlled substance without prescription and use of two-way device to facilitate a felony.
Stelle was jailed without bond for probation violation on a previous charge of cocaine possession.
Other arrests announced earlier were Bryce Dakota Boyet and Demonte Reshard Dawson.
Boyet, 23, of Fort Walton Beach, was arrested and charged with possession controlled substance without prescription, use of two-way device to facilitate a felony and possession drug equipment. He was identified during the operation as a dealer for Kijonte Bennett. He posted a combined $5,000 bond and has been released from the county jail.
Dawson, 26, of Fort Walton Beach, was arrested and charged with two counts of possession of controlled substance without prescription and possession marijuana under 20 grams. he posted a combined $3,500 bond and has been released from the county jail.
Law enforcement identified Dawson as a dealer for the alleged leader of the heroin ring, Aaron Dwayne Dawson.
Demonte Dawson was released from the state prison system on Oct. 10, 2015, following a 3-year sentence for the sale/manufacture/delivery of cocaine, cocaine possession and felony battery.
Of the four individuals that remain at-large, one has a criminal history that included a stay in the Florida state prison system.
Crunk, who law enforcement has identified as a customer of the heroin ring, was released from state prison on May 29, 2015, following a 1-year stretch for possession of controlled substances and 2 counts of simple battery.
Crunk, however, isn’t alone with a prison sentence on record. Aside from Diaz, six others taken into custody from the sting operation also spent stints in the state correctional system.
Alleged ring leader Aaron Dawson was released from state prison on Jan. 22, 2014, following a 2-year sentence for offenses that included the sale/manufacture/delivery of cocaine, cocaine possession, possession of other controlled substances and use of a 2-way device to commit a felony.
Cadale Lamar Carson, a dealer for Aaron Dawson, was released from state prison on Nov. 6, 2012, following a sentence of just over 15 months for the sale/manufacture/delivery of cocaine, grand theft and attempted burglary.
Another close associate of Aaron Dawson, Godinez, was released from state prison on Feb. 28, 2014, following a 1-year sentence for cocaine possession and felony flee/elude law enforcement officer.
Christopher Jermaine Robinson, a dealer within the ring’s organizational structure, was released from state prison on Nov. 12, 2016, following a 15-month stay for battery of law enforcement officer/firefighter/EMT.
Agee, who was identified as a supply source of cocaine, was released on Oct. 25, 2014, following a 38-month sentence for the sale/manufacture/delivery of cocaine and aggravated felony flee/elude law enforcement officer. Agee also has a past drug history in Okaloosa County involving cocaine possession, cocaine sale or purchase and the sale/manufacture/delivery of cocaine that dates back to 1991.
Nekia Parker, 39, of Valparaiso, who was identified as a customer of the heroin ring, was released from the state prison system on Dec. 2, 2014, following a 7-year, 6-month sentence for the sale/manufacture/delivery of cocaine, cocaine possession, aggravated assault and the threatened use of a firearm.