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Arrests continue in massive Walton drug-trafficking case Operation Mr. and Mrs. Clean

Jim Thompson
Northwest Florida Daily News

FREEPORT — Authorities are continuing to make arrests in Operation Mr. and Mrs. Clean, a multi-agency narcotics investigation focused on bringing down a massive drug-trafficking enterprise based in Walton County.

The investigation thus far has resulted in the seizure of almost 20 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, representing thousands of doses of the drug; 672 grams of heroin; 162 grams of carfentanil; 32 grams of suspected fentanyl; and 533 grams of suspected GHB, commonly referred to as the "date rape" drug. 

More:Operation Mr. Clean brings down 44 suspects in multi-agency drug trafficking investigation

However, while arrests have continued since Operation Mr. and Mrs. Clean was announced at a Tuesday news conference at the Walton County Sheriff's Office, some of the people facing federal and state charges remained at large Friday, according to a Sheriff's Office update.

Operation Mr. and Mrs. Clean and other accompanying investigations have resulted numerous charges.

During the Tuesday news conference announcing the arrests made thus far in the operation, authorities said four of the 15 people indicted on federal charges then remained at large, while nine of the 29 people facing state charges then remained at large.

By Friday, however, just two of the people facing federal charges remained at large, and just four of the people facing state charges remained at large, according to the Sheriff's Office update.

More:PHOTOS: Suspects arrested from Operation Mr. Clean

Still wanted on federal charges of conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute are Alicia Rutledge and Rex Bush. Authorities also are searching for Edward Lawyer, Tony Avizius, Daisy Sherman and Gerald Bonds on state charges.

Dozens have been arrested in the multi-agency drug task force operation.

All four of the people facing state charges are wanted for using two-way communications to facilitate a felony. Lawyer and Bonds are additionally wanted on charges of conspiracy to purchase methamphetamine, Sherman is also wanted on charges of conspiracy to purchase heroin and oxycodone and Avizius is additionally wanted on charges of conspiracy to purchase heroin.

Tony Avizius is among the people who remain at large in connection with drug charges brought in connection with a massive local drug-trafficking enterprise.

Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call the Walton County Sheriff’s Office at 850-892-8111 or contact Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers by phone at 850-863-8477 or online at https://www.p3tips.com/tipform.aspx?ID=214&C=ED1B26

Rex Bush is among the people remaining at large in connection with an ongoing investigation into a massive drug-trafficking enterprise centered in Walton County. Bush is under federal indictment in the case.

Since Tuesday, authorities have taken five people into custody. They are Demonta Easley, facing federal charges in the case; Marissa Martin, facing state charges of conspiracy to purchase heroin and methamphetamine and use of two-way communication to facilitate a felony; Austin Lee, facing state charges of conspiracy to purchase heroin and use of two-way communication to facilitate a felony; Frank Jordan, facing state charges of conspiracy to purchase heroin and use of two-way communication to facilitate a felony; and Michael Kabaci, on state charges of conspiracy to purchase oxycodone and use of two-way communication to facilitate a felony.

Alicia Rutledge is among the people who remain at large in connection with an ongoing investigation into a massive drug-trafficking enterprise centered in Walton County. Rutledge is facing federal charges in the case.

An additional person, Amanda Wade — wanted on state charges of conspiracy to purchase oxycodone and use of two-way communication to facilitate a felony — died of cardiac arrest some weeks before authorities began making arrests. Wade's mother advised authorities of her daughter's death after learning her daughter was a target of the investigation, according to Corey Dobridnia, public information officer for the Walton County Sheriff's Office.

Gerald Bonds remains wanted on state charges in connection with Operation Mr. and Mrs. Clean, a multi-agency effort to bring down a drug-trafficking operation centered in Freeport.

Also according to the update, Easley was arrested in a strip mall on South Holiday Road in Miramar Beach on Tuesday evening with a half-pound of heroin, approximately 500 fentanyl tablets and a loaded handgun. Easley tried to flee law officers and tried to ram the front of an undercover vehicle during the chase, according to the update.

Austin Lee is among the people who have been taken into custody since authorities on Tuesday announced a number of arrests in Operation Mr. and Mrs. Clean, a multi-agency effort to bring down a Walton County drug-trafficking operation.

While not listed among the people noted by authorities thus far in connection with Operation Mr. and Mrs. Clean, the Sheriff’s Office has also arrested Jonathan Morris in the same case. He is charged with conspiracy to purchase heroin, methamphetamine and  cocaine, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

Demonta Easley has been taken into custody on a number of charges connected to a massive drug-trafficking operation centered in Freeport.

The story leading to the massive number of drug-trafficking arrests began unfolding in May of last year when the Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's Panama City Resident Office Task Force began investigating James Young and Shelley Johnson, a couple allegedly operating a methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl drug-trafficking organization in Freeport, according to authorities.

Michael Kabaci has been arrested on state charges in connection with Operation Mr. and Mrs. Clean, an ongoing multi-agency law enforcement effort targeting drug trafficking centered in Walton County.

The investigation revealed that Young routinely acquired multiple-pound quantities of crystal methamphetamine and multiple-ounce quantities of heroin and fentanyl from sources in the Atlanta area. He and Johnson then distributed the drugs to other dealers and users in and around Walton County from Johnson’s waterfront home in Freeport, authorities said.

Frank Jordan is among the latest arrests connected to a multi-agency investigation into drug trafficking centered in Walton County.
James Young, now indicted on federal drug charges, has been identified as one of the principal people involved in a massive drug-trafficking operation centered in Walton County.

In June of this year and again last month, a federal grand jury in Pensacola returned indictments charging Johnson, Young and 13 other people with conspiracy to possess controlled substances with the intent to distribute. Johnson and Young also were charged with possession of firearms by convicted felons.

Marissa Martin is among the latest arrests in connection with an ongoing investigation into a drug-trafficking enterprise in Walton County.

In addition to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration, the investigation has involved the Department of Homeland Security Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Marshal's Service; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; the Bay County Sheriff’s Office; the Panama City Beach Police Department; the Panama City Police Department; the Springfield Police Department; the Lynn Haven Police Department; the Washington County Sheriff’s Office; the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and the DeFuniak Springs Police Department.

Jonathan Morris is the latest arrest in connection with a massive drug-trafficking operation centered in Walton County.