Three of five members of what authorities said was a drug-trafficking ring in Gainesville that advertised the sale of narcotics on Snapchat were scheduled to appear in court for jury selection Monday.
Authorities said they first became aware of the group in May 2020 following an early morning shootout at Cabana Beach Apartments – about two miles west of the University of Florida campus – when three gunmen who still haven’t been identified forced their way into an apartment occupied by four members of the group.
Cabana Beach is an off-campus apartment complex popular among university students.
When police arrived on scene, spent bullet casings littered the ground outside an apartment leased by three of the men – Montayvious “Jabo” McKinnon and Tremayne “Mayne” Frazier, both 25, and Byron Jones, 30. Inside the apartment, police spoke with a fourth man they said also lived there – Keldric Bradley, 26, according to a police report.
The neighbor who called 911 told officers on scene the men in the apartment were suspected drug dealers, according to an affidavit.
Investigators entered the apartment to conduct a safety sweep and observed cash, drugs, a gun and bullet casings strewn throughout the common area, police said. Bullet holes were found in the ceiling, furniture and walls shared with neighboring apartments, police added. After determining the shootout was due to a home invasion robbery associated with illegal substances, Gainesville-Alachua County Drug Task Force detectives were brought in to investigate, according to a charge sheet filed by prosecutors.
During a search of the common area and bedrooms belonging to each of the four men, detectives found more than $32,000 in cash, 28 pounds of marijuana and THC products, minor amounts of cocaine and pharmaceuticals, and two firearms, court records show.
When detectives searched McKinnon’s rental car in the parking lot, they discovered nearly a pound of MDMA, 43 THC cartridges and two scales, according to an affidavit.
While detectives were inventorying a bedroom, a cell phone belonging to McKinnon lit up with Snapchat messages from five individuals inquiring about THC products and marijauna, according to an affidavit.
“Hey, bro, I wanna come pick up a zip. You around?” one message said, according to court records. Police said a zip was street jargon for 1 ounce of marijuana.
Despite the shootout in a student apartment complex and the large quantities of drugs allegedly located within the apartment, detectives departed the scene without arresting anyone.
Two months after the shooting, the drug task force recruited a confidential informant to arrange the purchase of marijuana from Frazier, who was now living at nearby Rocky Point Apartments with McKinnon, Bradley, and a fourth man, 26-year-old David Lee Gordon Jr., records show.
The informant told detectives he had previously purchased drugs from McKinnon and Frazier.
Wearing a wire and hidden camera, the informant was instructed to coordinate the purchase of marijuana from Frazier using Snapchat. When the informant arrived at the apartment, he exchanged $40 cash for marijuana with a man later identified by both police and the informant as Gordon, detectives said.
Detectives used the same informant to purchase 8 grams of marijuana a month after the first controlled buy, court records show.
A search of the Rocky Point apartment the following month yielded more than $16,000 in cash, two handguns and 69 pounds of drugs, including 486 THC cartridges and 453 pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes, according to prosecutors.
McKinnon faces a total of seven charges including drug trafficking, racketeering, two counts of maintaining a drug dwelling, two counts involving the sale or distribution of drugs and one count of illegal use of a communications device.
McKinnon is the only defendant facing a trafficking charge.
Frazier faces the same charges as McKinnon with the exception of the trafficking charge, one of the two charges related to maintaining a drug dwelling and a single count of tampering with evidence
Gordon, whose birthday coincided with the first day of the scheduled trial, faces five charges including racketeering, two charges related to the sale or distribution of drugs, one count of illegal use of a communications device and one count of maintaining a dwelling where drugs are trafficked, sold or manufactured.
Jones and Bradley, the only two defendants not facing a racketeering charge, avoided trial Thursday by signing last-minute plea deals.
Jones pleaded no contest to two charges including possession of drugs with intent to sell and maintaining a drug dwelling.
Bradley pleaded no contest to a single count of possession with intent to sell.
As part of their plea deals, Jones and Bradley were sentenced to 30 months in prison to be followed by five years of probation.
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