High speed chase ends in Georgia with Keystone man behind barsCAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. – A 39-year-old Keystone Heights man wanted for lewd molestation and child custody interference charges in Clay …
High speed chase ends in
Georgia with Keystone man behind bars
CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. – A 39-year-old Keystone Heights man wanted for lewd molestation and child custody interference charges in Clay County was finally caught inside the Georgia state line following a high-speed chase that started on New Kings road in Jacksonville.
Keith Morris Smith was arrested on March 11 by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for attempting to flee law enforcement officers with a high rate of speed and disregard for others’ safety and leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage. His bond was set at $25,006.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office put a hold on Smith’s possible release so he can return to the county to face charges he sexually assaulted a girl in 2019 who was 15 years old at the time.
Smith was ordered to stay away from the teenager by the girl’s parents. On Nov. 29, 2019, the girl left home and eventually was found hiding on Dec. 1, 2019, in a closet at Smith’s home. The girl was “wearing only a long teeshirt,” according to the arrest report. Smith was being tracked by the U.S. Marshals Service when he was spotted riding in a car with his girlfriend in Jacksonville. The car stopped on New Kings Road and the girlfriend bailed out. Smith got behind the wheel and started the long chase. Deputies tried three times unsuccessfully to use a PIT maneuver – on Lem Turner Road and twice on Interstate 95 north. Shortly after crossing into Georgia, a fourth PIT maneuver was successful. He tried to run away from the scene, but he was quickly apprehended by a K-9 from the Camden County Sheriff’s Office.
Smith also has been charged by CCSO with tampering with his GPS monitoring device.
Middleburg man busted for molestation of a 7-year-old
MIDDLEBURG – A 33-year-old man was arrested after Clay County Sheriff’s Office detectives said he had inappropriate contact with a 7-year-old two years ago.
Terrence Drew McKeen was charged with lewd or lascivious molestation of a victim younger than 12. He is being held with a $500,003 bond in the Clay County Jail.
According to the arrest report, McKeen also faces similar charges in Jacksonville.
Police were alerted of the possible assaults on July 14, 2020, by McKeen’s wife.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, he faces charges there of asking the child to touch him while he watched pornography on his iPad.
Three men jailed for ransacking Middleburg storage units
MIDDLEBURG – Three men were arrested on March 10 following the Feb. 17 break-in at We Stor on County Road 218.
Alexander Edward White, 26, of Palatka, was charged with eight counts of burglary and one count of vandalism, while Richard Louis Stumner, 59, of Palatka and William Roy Brown, 28, of Jacksonville were charged with eight counts of burglary. White and Brown also were charged with vandalism.
Units at We Store were damaged and burglarized – one containing $19,322 worth of tools – on Feb. 17, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. A customer arrived at the facility and interrupted the break-ins. On Feb. 25, “multiple” suspects broke into Morgan Mini Warehouse in Orange Park. That burglary also was interrupted by a customer who was checking into his unit.
White subsequently was arrested for possession of controlled substance. At the same time CCSO detectives learned some of the items may have been pawned in Orange Park. When they arrived at the pawn shop on Arora Boulevard, they found Brown in the parking lot, and he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine.
Stumpner met with detectives in Palatka and he detailed how they broke into the facility by cutting through a fence and using bolt cutters to cut off locks.
Orange Park man sentenced for images, video of child porn
FORT MYERS – U.S. District Judge Sheri Polster Chappell sentenced Andrew Vikash Kummeth, 28, of Orange Park, to eight years in federal prison for possession of images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children. Kummeth was also sentenced to a 10-year term of supervised release and was ordered to register as a sex offender.
Kummeth pleaded guilty on November 2, 2020.
According to court documents, in October 2018, the FBI conducted an undercover investigation to identify individuals who were involved in the downloading or sharing of images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children over the internet. During an undercover session on October 24, 2018, and October 25, 2018, Kummeth’s computer was identified as being used to access child sexual abuse materials pornography. FBI agents executed a federal search warrant at Kummeth’s residence in Punta Gorda. During an interview with agents, Kummeth admitted to searching for and viewing child pornography over the internet. A subsequent forensic examination of Kummeth’s computer gaming tower and his solid-state drive storage device revealed images depicting children being sexually abused that Kummeth had accessed and downloaded from the internet.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fort Myers Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Yolande G. Viacava.
This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
Seatbelt stop leads to large drug seizure on Blanding
MIDDLEBURG – A Jacksonville man was arrested on March 13 after being caught with molly/ecstasy, methamphetamine, LSD, Xanax, buprenorphine, oxycodone, marijuana, mushrooms and drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop on Blanding Boulevard.
Stephen Thomas Aspden, 33, originally was stopped at 1:42 a.m. after a Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputy saw him driving without a seatbelt.
During the stop, CCSO K-9 Cash sniffed the exterior of the car. The dog alerted deputies of the likely presence of narcotics inside the car. The drugs were recovered from several places inside the car, according to the arrest report.
Aspden, who also was given a written warning for not wearing his seatbelt, was being held on a $68,523 bond at the Clay County Jail.
Local man indicted for having machinegun conversion device
JACKSONVILLE – Acting U.S. Attorney Karin Hoppmann announced the return of an indictment charging Kristopher Justinboyer Ervin, 41, of Orange Park, with possession of an unregistered machinegun conversion device. If convicted, Ervin faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
According to court documents, in January 2021, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives received information that Ervin may be selling devices referred to as “auto-sears” on a website called AutoKeyCards.com. Auto-sears are also sometimes referred to as “lightning links.” An auto-sear is a combination of parts designed and intended for converting a weapon to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, with a single trigger pull, and is therefore a machinegun under federal law. All machineguns are required to be registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.
Agents with ATF and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service purchased multiple items from AutoKeyCards.com consisting of metal cards etched with a design for an auto-sear. The agents paid for the metal cards etched with a design for an auto-sear using postal money orders, which Ervin then deposited into his account at a local credit union. An ATF expert analyzed one of the devices that had been purchased undercover and was able to convert an AR-15 style firearm into a machinegun by cutting out the etching for an auto-sear using a commonly available tool and then inserting the auto-sear into the firearm.
On Feb. 22, agents surveilled Ervin as he delivered 22 packages to a post office in Orange Park. A Postal Inspector obtained warrants to search the 22 packages and found that each of them contained a metal card etched with an auto-sear design. A Postal Inspector was able to see that Ervin had created labels for more than 1,200 mailings that appeared to contain auto-sear devices.
On March 2, Ervin was arrested in Columbia County. Search warrants were executed on Ervin’s vehicle and residence, resulting in the recovery of $3,700 in cash, approximately 1,552 auto-sear devices, machinery that was used to manufacture the auto-sear devices, other firearms, computers, and packaging materials consistent with those Ervin had used to mail packages containing auto-sears. Ervin’s websites have been seized by ATF.