PANHANDLE, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Beach and surrounding county law enforcement are cracking down on drugs flowing into the area for spring break.
A University of Alabama football player wound up in the Holmes County Jail for allegedly bringing a load of marijuana into the state.
Holmes County Sheriff’s deputies arrested freshman Tony Mitchell Wednesday in Bonifay. They said Mitchell and another man had a large bag of marijuana in their car.
And that’s not all.
“They were coming down here with a lot of money, some weapons and some drugs,” Panama City Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said.
Talamantez said Mitchell was on his way to Panama City Beach. He said the two had a weapon, marijuana and more than $17,000 in cash.
Holmes County Sheriff’s deputies said the gun was loaded. Mitchell allegedly also had a set of scales in the car. Talamantez said there are many people like Mitchell who try to sell drugs on the beach during spring break.
“You’re taking a gamble that you will not win,” Talamantez said.
He and Panama City Beach Police officials met with law enforcement throughout the Panhandle and Alabama in preparation for spring break. He said they are sharing intel with other authorities.
“The problems that end up here have to drive through their community. So they also know the inherent danger,” Talamantez said.
He said the arrest shows their meeting with law enforcement paid off.
“This is a direct result of that meeting, our continuing cooperation and communication with our Alabama partners, our partners in north Florida, even more north than we are,” Talamantez said. “You know, it shows that they are willing to help.”
Talamantez said pro-active policing stopped the problem before it got the Panama City Beach. Holmes County Sheriff’s Office officials declined our request for an interview. The University of Alabama is closed for spring break this week. Officials in the athletic department did not reply to our request for comment.
Mitchell just enrolled at Alabama in January. He was a stand-out high school football player last fall at Thompson High School in Alabaster, Alabama.