Police Briefs 7/21/22

Clay County Sheriff's Office
Posted 7/20/22

Keystone man accused of trying to kill friend with axKEYSTONE HEIGHTS – A short search for a man that included the lockdown of Keystone Heights Elementary led to the arrest of a man who is …

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Police Briefs 7/21/22

Posted

Keystone man accused of trying to kill friend with ax

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – A short search for a man that included the lockdown of Keystone Heights Elementary led to the arrest of a man who is accused of attacking a friend with an ax.
Kyle Gregory Ploe, 29, of Keystone Heights, was charged with attempted murder after one of his friends was attack in the 300 block of S.W. Peach Street, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. The arrest report was heavily-redacted because it’s an ongoing investigation.
Ploe was arrested after the sheriff’s office set up a perimeter after the attack.
Ploe’s bond was set at $500,003. His next court appearance is set for Aug. 22.

Green Cove Springs man sentenced to 40 years for sexually exploiting children
JACKSONVILLE – U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard sentenced Edward Alan Hardin, 35, of Green Cove Springs, to 40 years in federal prison for attempted production of child sex abuse material and possession of child sex abuse material. After serving his prison term, Hardin will be required to register as a sex offender and serve a lifetime of supervised release. Hardin had pleaded guilty on Feb. 17. As part of his plea agreement, Hardin also admitted to sex trafficking two children younger than 14 years old and to the online enticement of a third child to engage in illegal sexual activity.
According to court documents, at various times in 2018, 2019, and 2020, Hardin had access to three female children who were in his custody. One of those children – referred to as Minor Victim 1 – had known Hardin since she was a toddler and considered Hardin to be a father figure. Beginning when Minor Victim 1 was about 12 or 13 years old, Hardin provided money and gifts to Minor Victim 1 in exchange for the sexual abuse of Minor Victim 1.
On May 8, 2020, a deputy with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office observed Hardin’s truck parked at a shopping center in Orange Park. As the deputy approached Hardin’s truck on foot, he observed Hardin in the driver’s seat of the truck, and then observed Minor Victim 1 sit up in the passenger seat of the truck. The deputy smelled the aroma of marijuana emanating from the truck. As the deputy approached the passenger door of the truck, he could see that Hardin’s pants were unzipped and that Hardin and Minor Victim 1 appeared nervous. Minor Victim 1 agreed to speak with a detective and disclosed text messages between she and Hardin that showed that Hardin, on multiple occasions, had made arrangements to pay Minor Victim 1 for sex. Minor Victim 1 stated that Hardin had been sexually abusing her in the truck prior to the deputy approaching. Hardin was arrested and admitted to engaging in sexual intercourse with Minor Victim 1 earlier that day, but he claimed it was the first time and that it had been consensual.
Minor Victim 1 also identified two other child victims who had been sexually abused by Hardin.
Minor Victim 2 was interviewed and disclosed that Hardin had transported her to Valdosta, Georgia, to visit a particular theme park in July 2018, when she was 15 years old. Minor Victim 2 informed detectives that Hardin had sexually abused her during the trip and continued to maintain a sexual relationship with her until around March 2020, during all of which time Minor Victim 2 was underage.

Minor Victim 3 was interviewed and disclosed that when she was 13 years old she had attended a sleepover with Minor Victim 1. During the sleepover, Hardin provided Minor Victim 3 and Minor Victim 1 with marijuana, and Minor Victim 3 was encouraged to allow Hardin to sexually assault her, and he did so. Hardin then gave Minor Victim 3 and Minor Victim 1 $20 as payment for the sex act.
Hardin’s phone was searched and contained photos of Minor Victim 2 engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Additionally, Hardin’s phone contained text messages to Minor Victim 1 in which Hardin repeatedly requested that Minor Victim 1 produce pornographic images of herself and provide them to Hardin.
“This predator took advantage of the innocence of minor girls and sexually abused them through manipulation,” said Homeland Security Investigations Tampa Special Agent in Charge John Condon. “This successful sentencing is a testament to the strength of our law enforcement partnerships and our commitment to serve and protect the community.”         
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Cofer Taylor.
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.

Traffic stop leads to arrest for fentanyl, methamphetamine

MIDDLEBURG – A 47-yer-old man was caught with fentanyl, methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia in his car during a traffic stop for driving with dark-tinted windows, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
Robert Bleckley Trueblood was charged with trafficking fentanyl since he was caught with more than four grams, CCSO said. He was arrested on July 17.
After Trueblood was stopped at Long Bay Road and Blanding Boulevard on Feb. 1, K-9 Odin alerted deputies to a likely presence of illegal narcotics in his car.
Trueblood also was caught on Dec. 8, 2021, with fentanyl, methamphetamine and using a cellphone to facilitate a felony.
Trueblood’s bond was set at $201,517.

CCSO: Middleburg brothers busted for selling drugs to informant
MIDDLEBURG – Two brothers were arrested on July 16 after they sold fentanyl and methamphetamine to a confidential informant working with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
Richard Edward Finley, 51, was charged with trafficking fentanyl, while Timothy Ray Finley, 49, was charged with selling and delivering methamphetamine.
According to the arrest report, the informant bought 12.1 grams of fentanyl on July 16 at Richard Finley’s home on Robert King Road, while his brother, Timothy, sold methamphetamine to an informant at the same address on Nov. 16, 2021.
The sheriff’s office said Timothy Finley also was charged with selling methamphetamine and using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony during another controlled sale to an informant on Oct. 21, 2021. Richard Finley’s bond was set at $150,003, while Timothy Finley’s bond was set at $125,009.

Jacksonville man charged with violating no contact order from jail
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A Jacksonville man was arrested on July 7 for violating conditions of release for domestic violence after the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said he made at least 15 calls to the victim from the Clay County Jail.
Merquis Serrod Baynard, 34, was charged with two counts of violating his release conditions after jail records showed he called the victim 15 times after he was arrested for contacting the woman after he was arrested for domestic violence.
According to the arrest report, Baynard appeared in front of Judge Collins in a pretrial release hearing on July 8. He was told not to have any contact with the victim. Jail records show he called with woman 13 times on that day.
Baynard told deputies he tried to call the victim so he could make bail. He also said he gave another inmate his jail personal identification number, so it was possible the other inmate called the victim.
Baynard’s next court hearing is scheduled for July 26. His bond was set at $26,506.

Middleburg man charged with trafficking methamphetamine
MIDDLEBURG – With the help of a confidential informant working with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, a man was charged with trafficking methamphetamine on Feb. 9.
Robert Brian Hatcher, 52, of Middleburg, was arrested on July 18 after being arrested for trafficking 145.6 grams of methamphetamine.
According to the arrest report, the confidential informant bought 5.2 ounces (nearly one-third pound) of methamphetamine in the parking lot of a convenience store on Blanding Boulevard.
Hatcher’s bond was set at $250,003. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 23.

Sheriff’s office charges man with selling methamphetamine from his home
MIDDLEBURG – A 50-year-old man was arrested on July 18 for trafficking methamphetamine to a confidential source and an undercover deputy, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
Buddy Alan Sigmon, of Middleburg, was charged with selling methamphetamine and using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony on at the sheriff’s office said he sold the methamphetamine from his house on two different occasions on June 13.
The sale to the undercover deputy was more than 14 ounces.
Sigmon’s bond was set at $190,009.

Woman on motorcycle charged with trafficking methamphetamine
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputy saw a motorcycle rider run through a stop sign at the intersection of County Road 315 and Willow Springs Drive, and that led to an arrest for trafficking methamphetamine.
Daniele Lee Eldridge, 40, of Middleburg, was charged with trafficking methamphetamine on Julu 18 following a stop on July 1 on Sandridge Road. CCSO requested the use of K-9 Odin, who alerted deputies of the likely presence of illegal narcotics.
During a search, a woman deputy uncovered two baggies of meth.
Her bond was set at $100,003.