Police Briefs 9/23/21

Clay County Sheriff's Office
Posted 9/22/21

OP man gets 15 years to trying to entice 14-year-old for sex

JACKSONVILLE – Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan has sentenced Darryl Gray Smith, 31, Orange …

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Police Briefs 9/23/21

Posted

OP man gets 15 years to trying to entice 14-year-old for sex

JACKSONVILLE – Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan has sentenced Darryl Gray Smith, 31, Orange Park, to 10 years in federal prison for attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity and to produce child sex abuse images. Smith was also ordered to serve a 10-year term of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.
Smith was found guilty on Feb. 5, 2020, following a jury trial.
According to testimony and evidence introduced during the trial, from Feb. 6-13 13, 2019, Smith engaged in a series of online text conversations over the internet with a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old child. Unbeknownst to Smith, this “child” was an undercover agent from Homeland Security Investigations. During the course of these conversations, Smith discussed in detail his desire to meet and sexually abuse the “child.” He made several requests for the “child” to produce and send him images of the “child” engaging in sexually explicit conduct. 
On Feb. 13, 2019, Smith went to a local restaurant on Blanding Boulevard in Orange Park to meet the 14-year-old child. He was arrested at the meeting location by HSI agents and officers with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are witnessing an epidemic of the sexual exploitation of children in our society,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “It’s imperative that parents, caregivers and children understand the dangers of online predators and take every step possible to safely navigate Internet and social media activities.”
The case was investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Asst. U.S. Attorneys Ashley Washington and Kelly Karase.
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.

Middleburg woman charge
with evidence tampering
ORANGE PARK – A Middleburg woman was arrested after the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said she threatened somebody and removed evidence from the car of a suspect in another case.
Jessica Arias Cruz, 37, was charged with altering, destroying, concealing, removing physical evidence and for tampering in a life capital felony proceeding.
According to CCSO’s arrest report, Cruz “did knowingly use intimidation or physical force, or threatened another person, or attempted to do so, or engaged in misleading conduct towards another person, or offered pecuniary benefit or gain to another person, with intent to cause or induce any person to hinder, delay, or prevent the communication to a law enforcement officer or judge of information relating to the commission or possible commission of an offense or a violation of a condition of probation, parole, or release pending a judicial proceeding” between May 3-31.

She’s also accused to removing physical evidence from the vehicle of a suspect another crime.
Her bond was set at $25,003.

Convicted felon caught with handguns, methamphetamine

MIDDLEBURG – A Flora Home man was being held in the Clay County Jail with a $96,020 bond after sheriff’s deputies found drugs and a handgun in his truck during a traffic stop on County Road 218.
James Charles Owens, 44, was charged with possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, driving a stolen truck and possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon and altering the serial number on the gun.
According to the arrest report, a Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputy was alerted the registration didn’t match the black SUV he was driving. The deputy noticed a pipe in the center console. A subsequent search led to the discovery of 1.6 grams of methamphetamine and the illegal 9mm handgun.

Man sent back to Clay following three-county robbery spree

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A man already in the Putnam County Jail was sent back to Clay County to face charges in connection with the robbery at The Transmission Shop in Keystone Springs.
Clarence Johnson, 50, of Hawthorne, not only faces the burglary charge in Clay County, but he’s been charged with robberies in Alachua County as well. He faces three burglary charges, including the Orange Heights Baptist Church in Hawthorne, and one count of armed robbery.
According to the arrest warrant, an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deputy recognized Johnson and attempted to stop him. Johnson took off into Putnam County, but he was later arrested in Alachua.
Between the three counties, Johnson’s bond was set at $80,012.

CCSO looking for person who shot at school buses with BB gun

LAKE ASBURY – The Clay County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the person who shot a BB gun at two school buses Tuesday morning in the 2800-block of Henley Road. The location is about a half-mile from Lake Asbury Junior High.
There were no injuries.
If anyone has information about the shooting, they are asked to call the CCSO’s non-emergency number at (904) 264-6512. For updates, visit claytodayonline.com or the Clay County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook or Twitter accounts.

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