By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- The Indian River County Multi Agency Criminal Enforcement unit has had a busy week wrapping up investigations and making arrests.
On May 16, a search warrant on a Vero Beach house led to the arrest of four people on drug or animal abuse charges.
A few days prior in Vero Beach, on May 14, another warrant uncovered a variety of drugs, a hand gun and ammunition and animals that appeared to be neglected. At press time, the primary suspect had not yet been arrested and the investigation was continuing.
The May 16 search led to the following arrests.
Alphonso Phinizee, 37, of 4830 35th Ave., Vero Beach, was charged with animal cruelty, unlawful confinement or abandonment of a dog and possession of marijuana. He was released from jail after posting an $8,000 bond.
Charles Stokes, 26, of 4855 32nd Ave., Vero Beach, was charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute and destruction of evidence.
Rone Jackson, 35, of 4440 26th Ave., Vero Beach, was charged with possession of marijuana.
Jomeka Thomas, 27, 4775 38th Circle, Apt. 206, Vero Beach, was charged with possession of marijuana, but was released from jail after posting a $500 bond.
The May 16 search and subsequent arrests stemmed from anonymous complaints that indicated the house, 4565 33rd Ave., Vero Beach, could have been used for selling drugs.
Detectives found three adult pit bulls and one puppy. They were described as being in poor condition and had injuries which county animal control officers noted were consistent with dog fighting, a press release said.
The dogs were restrained with heavy chains and did not have access to food or water. Before being taken by animal control, two of the dogs had to be tranquilized because of their aggressive nature.
At the house, officers seized 28.5 grams of cocaine, both powder and crack, 205 grams of marijuana and $900 in cash.
The May 14 search of the house at 3810 44th Place, Vero Beach, led to the seizure of 15 grams of crack cocaine, 1 gram of powder cocaine, 56 ecstasy, 11 grams of methylone, also known as "Molly," 429 grams of marijuana, a handgun, ammunition and drug paraphernalia. Also found on the property were a total of 12 pit bulls, four adult and eight juveniles that appeared to be malnourished and infested with fleas.
An investigation into animal abuse charges will be forthcoming, law enforcement said.
Anyone with information regarding the 44th Place case is asked to contact the MACE unit at (772) 978-1217. To leave an anonymous tip and be eligible for a reward up to $1,000, contact the Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at (800) 273-8477.