Police briefs 1/4/18

Clay County Sheriff's Office
Posted 1/3/18

Investigation ends in multiple sex charges for Middleburg man

MIDDLEBURG – A Middleburg man faces multiple sex crimes after an investigation by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.Police …

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Police briefs 1/4/18

Posted

Investigation ends in multiple sex charges for Middleburg man

MIDDLEBURG – A Middleburg man faces multiple sex crimes after an investigation by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Police arrested Wesley Alan Sweat, 26, on Dec. 29 for lewd and lascivious battery on a victim ages 12-16 and using an electronic device to send pornographic pictures and videos to a minor under the age of 16. On Jan. 2, CCSO added a new charge of lewd and lascivious battery on a victim ages 12-16.

The investigation began December 28, 2017 when “information was discovered,” that Sweat was having intercourse with the victim, according to the CCSO report.

During an interview at the CCSO Orange Park substation, Sweat gave officers consent to search through his cell phone. During the search, police found several text conversations between Sweat and the victim, in which Sweat asked the victim for nude pictures. In the same search, police also uncovered nude pictures and videos, including at least one of Sweat pleasuring himself. Police also said Sweat enticed the victim to send him at least 10 pictures of herself in the nude.

Later that day, officers spoke to the victim and the victim’s mother. The victim told officers that she and Sweat had sexual intercourse, as well other sexual activities. The victim stated that this occurred two weeks before Halloween, according to the police report.

Because Sweat was already arrested and in the Clay County Jail for prior charges, this arrest was delivered to the jail. Sweat was then further charged with lewd and lascivious conduct and battery with a minor victim between the ages of 12 and 16. On Jan. 2, his bond was set at $95,009, but at press time on Jan. 3, his bond had been increased to $245,012.

Middleburg man arrested in federal crime sweep

JACKSONVILLE – A Middleburg man is among a group of 125 people who have been charged with firearm and violent crime offenses as part of what’s being called the Violent Crime Reduction Initiative in the Middle District of Florida, in federal court.

Andrew James Ward, 29, Middleburg, was charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after authorities seized one firearm from him. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison. Federal court officials made the announcement about the sweep on Jan. 2.

In the initiative, which began August 23, 2017, police seized 227 firearms and arrested Florida residents who live in an area stretching from Jacksonville to the Tampa area and points in between.

In Jacksonville, the district court launched a joint initiative with the State Attorney’s Office for the Fourth Judicial Circuit and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to locate and seize unlawfully possessed guns and then swiftly prosecute the offenders using both federal and state gun laws.

Of the 125 individuals charged so far, offenses include possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence, possession of a stolen firearm, robbery, and bank robbery.

Battery charge for striking pregnant girlfriend

ORANGE PARK – An Orange Park man faces charged of allegedly striking his pregnant girlfriend in the face.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Arthur Christian Couch, 30, on Dec. 29 after he and his longtime girlfriend had an argument that resulted in Couch assaulting the woman, who is a few weeks into her third pregnancy.

According to the report, Couch began arguing with his girlfriend after she took multiple positive pregnancy tests and told him she did not want to keep the baby, which would be the third for the couple. She moved to the bedroom to retrieve something from the bathroom and knocked glass items onto the floor which broke. As Couch began cleaning up the glass the, two continued arguing with Couch eventually hitting the woman in the face causing two cuts near her upper lip.

Couch was transported to the Clay County Jail following his arrest where he faces a felony for assaulting a pregnant woman. Couch has since been released from the jail.

Grand theft auto charge for Orange Park man

MIDDLEBURG – An Orange Park man faces one count of grand theft auto after allegedly driving a stolen vehicle in Middleburg.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Tyler Orion Casillas, 25, on Dec. 29 after he was pulled over in the 2700 block of Blanding Boulevard while driving a stolen vehicle.

Officers approached Casillas’ car which was parked outside the Winn Dixie in Middleburg, and arrested the man after dispatchers identified the car as being stolen from an owner in Duval County. They also discovered that Casillas had two non-extraditable warrants out of Virginia. During the arrest, police used drug-sniffing dogs to search the car. The search uncovered drug paraphernalia on the driver’s side of the vehicle which turned out to be crack pipes, as well as a small amount of marijuana in Casillas’ pocket.

Casillas was transported to the Clay County Jail following his arrest where he faces a felony for grand theft auto and two misdemeanors for possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana. He is being held on about $10,000 bond and will appear in court on Jan. 31.

Keystone man facing robbery charge

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – A Keystone Heights man is charged with allegedly assaulting another man and stealing his cell phone.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested James Isiah Martin, 20, on Dec. 27 after he assaulted a man at Keystone Nature Park at 550 Lawrence Blvd. The victim was standing at the edge of the park charging his cell phone when Martin began walking toward him threatening him with a gun in his waistband, according to the CCSO report.

The victim said that he was not afraid so Martin continued toward him. Martin then started hitting the man in the back of the head and the victim responded by kicking Martin in the testicles multiple times until he fell onto the ground. Martin then pointed the handgun at the victim and robbed him of his backpack and cell phone, and immediately smashed the cellphone on the ground before running away. Officers arrested Martin at his home in the 7000 block og Lakeview Street after being contacted by the victim.

Following his arrest, Martin was transported to the Clay County Jail where he faces three felonies – armed robbery with a firearm, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and armed grand theft. He also faces a misdemeanor for vandalism over $200 for destroying the man’s phone. He is being held on about $100,000 bond and is set to appear in court on Jan. 31.

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