ORANGE PARK – A woman had just stepped into her garage just after noon on March 28 when she was terrified by an incursion of military-like trucks and swarms of police running past her house.
Moments later, she heard several loud bangs.
“It was scary,” she said. “When I saw those two big trucks, I didn’t know what was going on. Then, here they came. They were walking and running. Some were in green [fatigues]. Some were in uniform.”
Officers from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office’s SWAT team and Organized Crime Unit, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Postal Inspection Service were there to raid a home in the Secret Harbor neighborhood off College Street.
Three men soon then were arrested after officers found drugs, cash and guns in the home.
A day later, several windows were knocked out and were boarded up, but neighbors were relieved.
“I’m a mother,” said another woman. “I’m glad they’re gone.”
Neither women wanted to be identified.
Deputies said they recovered “an excessive amount of cocaine, fentanyl, methamphetamine and other illegal substances. Along with all this, the subjects arrested were also in possession of firearms, large quantities of cash and other illegal items.”
Some of the drugs apparently came through the mail.
LaShan O’Brian, 29, William Byrd, 24, and David O’Brien Smith, 25 all were arrested. Byrd and Smith were charged with resisting, obstruct and opposed multiple law enforcement officers after they tried to elude them by running from the house. O’Brian, who originally identified himself as Daniel Liburd, was charged also was charged with battery against a law enforcement animal after he was apprehended by police dog Diesel.
Sabouy Williamson, 26, was arrested for cocaine trafficking, giving false names – Jam P. Cole and Jolly Williams – and other charges. He was stopped at 950 Blanding Boulevard, about 1.4 miles from the home in Secret Harbor. Deputies with CCSO, Homeland Security and the Postal Inspection Service searched the car and found one kilo of cocaine with fentanyl, along with $46,569 in cash. Williamson listed the same address as O’Brain, Byrd and Smith on his driver’s license. He was being held in the Clay County Jail with a $260,007 bond.
The sheriff’s office issued the following statement:
“[Thursday, March 28] our SWAT team executed a Narcotics search warrant in Orange Park off College Drive. This was an extensive investigation that could not have been successful without the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service who we worked in conjunction with.
“The entire investigation yielded an excessive amount of cocaine, fentanyl, methamphetamine and other illegal substances. Along with all this, the subjects arrested were also in possession of firearms, large quantities of cash and other illegal items. Some of those arrested refused to cooperate, as well; however, K9 Diesel and our members were able to safely apprehend them.
“The community that had been terrorized by this illegal activity has reached out thanking us and we appreciate your support. These cases are complex and lengthy, but we’re listening – we promise.”
Most neighbors seemed surprised.
“What’s happening to this neighborhood,” the first neighbor asked.
“I’m definitely glad,” the second neighbor said. “I hope they lock them up. This is a quaint little community. We don’t need that here.”
All but Williamson have posted bond. The Sheriff’s office said it still was investigating and additional charges were likely.