Police investigating complaints about noise and gambling at a Haines City house said they found 29 pounds of marijuana buried in the yard of the home. When officers arrived about 7 p.m. Tuesday they found men playing illegal card games and dominos with cash in the driveway, and they arrested four men on misdemeanor gambling charges, police said. Police said they also found a firearm and a police dog found the buried marijuana. “One thing led to another and we ended up with 29 pounds of marijuana,” said Sgt. Keith Hammond, who supervises the Haines City Police Department’s COPS and K-9 units.
The owner of the home at 512 N. Third St., Derville Hines, 37, faces drug charges related to the marijuana, police said. Hammond said neighbors had complained about a month ago about the activities at the home, including the noise, drinking and card playing from daylight to dark. “The residents didn’t want to put up with this anymore. They asked us what we could do to put an end to it,” he said. “We took a look at the house, watched the activity and saw anywhere from 20 to 40 people there at a given time,” he said. “It wasn’t a very good situation.”
On Tuesday, officers in vehicles watched the house from the street and decided it was time to move in. Hammond said Hines had a small amount of marijuana in a bucket above ground; the rest was buried in the yard in 5-gallon paint buckets and found by Valdo, a trained drug dog. Hines was arrested on charges of trafficking in marijuana in excess of 25 pounds, possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony, keeping a gambling house and illegal gambling. Police said he also has an address of 1444 Belvoir Drive, Davenport. Arrested on illegal gambling charges were Lester George Tomlinson, 60, of 137 Meridian St., Davenport; Brodsley Washington Whyte, 42, of 127 E. Grove Drive, Lake Hamilton; Horace Clare, 76, of 1106 Hamlin Court, Haines City; and Carmichael Kenneth Shakes, 24, of 226 Remington Place, Haines City.
The Police Department’s Community Oriented Police unit, made the arrests. The COPS unit works in designated neighborhoods to build trust between residents and the police so that residents can feel comfortable asking for police help. “We want to keep that level of trust,” Hammond said. “We want to help them take back their neighborhoods.” Hammond said the illegal gambling charges against the four men are second-degree misdemeanors. “There is still an open investigation regarding Hines,” he said.
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