Morgan Continues Fight Against Crime In North Escambia, Announces Undercover Drug Buys

April 23, 2009


From bike patrols, to traffic crackdowns, to undercover drug buys, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department has been busy in Century and surrounding areas in North Escambia since a new sheriff took office.

For weeks, undercover officers have videotaped drug buys in Century. Now warrants have been issued and arrests are being made, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said Wednesday afternoon.

“We are being more proactive in the north end,” the sheriff said, adding that he expects to put five additional deputies on the streets in North Escambia by August. Overall, Morgan said he would characterize crime in Century to be “mid-level” at worse, not the the level seen in some Pensacola areas where gang activity is rampant.

“While we have been in denial in Escambia County about gangs, we do have them,” Morgan said, adding that his department has identified about 15 different gangs operating in the county. The rival gangs have led to “turf wars”, and several shootings in the past few weeks.  The sheriff’s department has identified gang members as young as 1o-years old selling crack cocaine.

“We’ve got some pretty serious issues facing us in law enforcement,” the sheriff said. About 1,200 criminals — guilty of crimes from bad checks to murder — will return to Escambia County’s streets next year after finishing their prison citizens. That, he said, may lead to more crime.

With 300 deputies and a county that stretches from Century to the beaches, Morgan said Century and North Escambia present a unique challenge in law enforcement.

“The response in a city environment is different that in a rural environment,” the first-term sheriff said. “In a small community, they get on their cell phones as soon as you make one arrest, then you are done.”

But that does not deter Morgan.

“I intend to terrorize these guys,” he said. His department has made 512 street level narcotics arrests this year.

“I am coming when I come for them; then I am coming back again,” Morgan said. “You get them off balance and you keep them off balance. They need to know that I’ll be back.”

For economic development to happen in a place like Century, or any other Escambia County community, there must be a safe, low crime environment.

“When you’ve got to pick your street or drive around the crack deals, that’s not going to make a good economy,” he said. There are pockets of crime like that in Century, the sheriff said specifically mentioning about a three block area around Pond Street.

Morgan’s comments were delivered to the Tri-City Rotary Club at the group’s weekly meeting. The sheriff attended the meeting as an invited guest of

Also at that meeting was Escambia County (Ala.) Sheriff Grover Smith.

“I know we’ve got a common state line, and we have to work with your office,” the Escambia, Alabama sheriff told the Escambia, Florida sheriff. “We’re glad to help you in any way. We are very happy with the changes you have made, especially in Century.”

After the Rotary Club meeting in Flomaton, Morgan stopped by the department’s Century Precinct to discuss local crime with the deputies that work Century and surrounding area of North Escambia.

Local residents will have an opportunity to meet Sheriff Morgan, hear him speak and express their concerns about law enforcement in North Escambia at two upcoming meetings. Morgan will hold a town hall meeting at Fran’s Diner in Molino at 6 p.m. on April 30, and a second town hall meeting in Century at the Panhandle Restaurant at 6 p.m on May 7.

Pictured above: Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan (L) looks at a North Escambia crime report with Sgt. David Preston Wednesday afternoon at the department’s Century Precinct. Pictured below (L-R): Morgan discusses crime with Escambia County (Ala.) Sheriff Grover Smith and Chief Deputy Mike Lambeth. photos, click to enlarge.



34 Responses to “Morgan Continues Fight Against Crime In North Escambia, Announces Undercover Drug Buys”

  1. Abbie on April 27th, 2009 9:15 am

    Concerned Molino Resident,

    Your response to my question regarding why Jacob and I are getting immature responses is that our ideas are “out there?” I spent a great deal of time writing these comments because I care about the topic, and I thought I’d get some decent responses. What it looks like is that most have a blind faith that drug prohibition is the solution to the drug problem.

    Can anyone at least provide some evidence that favors drug prohibition and is willing to have a discussion? If drug prohibition is indeed the solution, people should be able to provide data and evidence instead of insults and belittlement. I would respect your answers if they were something other than blind dismissal. I would certainly contemplate them if they had evidence supporting your position.
    If what I have read here is all the support for drug prohibition I can find, I will certainly push harder for the end of the drug war.

    Regarding me leeching off society, perhaps I misread bobbys comment.

  2. Concerned Molino Resident on April 26th, 2009 2:08 pm

    Abbie, nobody said that you were leaching off of society. This is a conservative part of the county. We don’t want a County Commisioner who supports legalizing dope.

  3. Concerned Molino Resident on April 26th, 2009 2:02 pm

    Because Abbie, both you and Jacob’s thoughts on legalizing drugs is way out there. Society does not need cocaine, and crystal meth stores in the mall. A large majority of the people have little self control. Make these drugs available to everyone is crazy. Might as well legalize dynamite and C-4, Maybe folks would be responsible with that to.

  4. Abbie on April 26th, 2009 11:25 am

    bobby, and everyone else,
    Why are insults and accusations the only responses you guys have?
    I do not live off others here, and I abhor the idea of leeching on society.
    why is it that an adult conversation cannot take place here?

  5. Bobby on April 25th, 2009 5:44 pm

    You are free free to leave when you are ready are have had enough of this slave free country there are plenty of countries for you to go but you will haft to get a job so you better stay here live off every body else and just complain. hows life on D st.

  6. Concerned Molino Resident on April 24th, 2009 9:27 pm

    Thank goodness we didn’t elect you County Commisioner

  7. Jacob Pawelski on April 24th, 2009 8:14 pm

    Oh, and yes to the death penalty. How about putting people in jail longer for armed robbery or rape then people who use marijuana? You would think rape was worse… but hey, this is America… home of the slave, and land of the fee…

  8. Jacob Pawelski on April 24th, 2009 8:11 pm

    Ok, concerning the accusation that I have a prior felony concerning dope… haha. Please, argue against me if you will, but just calling me stupid and completely attacking me instead of my argument is, lets say, childish.
    Yes, I am 21, and I was a candidate for County Commission. I am sure you could find stuff on me online somewhere… if it is still around. That was several months ago now.
    Ok, so me and AB are making the false assumption that people should think from a liberty minded, individualist mentality. Obviously, most people do not, and so we should try and make this simpler for you to understand.
    I, being an individual free person, have certain unalienable rights, which include the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Now, basically what this means is, as Thomas Jefferson said, “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”
    Now, being that I have God given unalienable rights, if the government creates a law that prohibits my rights, that law is tyrannical, and should be ignored or violated out of principle. I am sorry I have offended you by not living by your moral standards, or doing something you see as wrong, but it is my right to do with my property, which includes my body, whatever I want, without having to explain or defend my actions to you.
    Now, because people don’t like others doing drugs, they instead send men with guns to arrest those people, and throw them in jail. So, now you have condoned kid napping and extortion in order to enforce your moral beliefs, at the expense of others personal liberties. Who is in the wrong?
    How about we look at it from another point of view. Most people on this website, I would assume, believe monopolies are bad… So, why then do you support a monopoly on force, extortion, and kid napping, when it is in your favor, but when a private individual does it, you demand he be stopped? All the police is is gun in the room for the government. Do as the government says, or you will have men with guns at your door ready to take you in by force. Resist, as you would any private individual making such a demand, and you will be killed, and the killer will be awarded for making society safer…
    So, you endorse this monopoly, fully aware of the problems with monopolies, and you endorse violence, as long as it is enforcing your moral beliefs…
    Talk about hypocrisy…
    And for the record, I have never smoked weed, smoked a cigarette, drank alcohol, or done any drug beyond some pain killers for surgery. I do not condone drugs, but I understand that people have rights, and I am not going to use force to stop them.
    This will fall on mostly deaf ears, or none at all… so I will leave it at this.

  9. Concerned Molino Resident on April 24th, 2009 6:00 pm

    you win let’s go and get HIGH!!!!! on some Weed

  10. Abbie on April 24th, 2009 2:36 pm

    Concerned Molino Resident,
    I will first address some accusations:

    I am not opposed to the idea of the death penalty, only that its current implementation allows for too many people who were wrongfully accused to be put to death, with no compensation for the mistake made to the families. It should be reexamined, and a better solution should be implemented to make certain that only criminals worthy of death are executed.
    I originally grew up in the Bronx, NY. I spent most of my life there. I have seen the effects drugs have on people. I have visited drug and rehabilitation clinics, and have volunteered there. There are people close to me that have had, or continue to have substance abuse problems. Also, having attended a public school, I can inform you that a suspension of drug prohibition is not necessary to easily access cocaine, meth, marijuana, ectasy, lsd, etc. at any grade level! I am also not a liberal, much less of the bleeding heart variety.

    Now, Bank robbery is not a victimless crime. Stealing a penny from someone still creates a victim and is still wrong. You are correct in stating that parents need to be responsible. Indeed, this will go a long way to correcting the problem, and many other problems in our country. It is an excellent way to curb drug abuse. Binge drinking is an example of this: in Italy and in Greece, where children are exposed to wine, and educated about proper consumption, the binge drinking rate is only 2%, where in other european nations, it approaches 25% and in the US, according to the CDC it is 51% of adults 18-20. Just Christianity may not affect the problem. According to a 1998 survey of students in Christian colleges, 40% of seniors drank alcohol weekly, and 20% of all students surveyed drank to get drunk (it was not clear if this included binge drinking, but drunkeness is clearly a problem). and If parents educated their children on the proper consumption and dangers of alcoholic beverages, their abuse should decline dramatically, with no need for alcohol prohibition.

    Similarly, this can be applied to drugs. Even though I spent most of my life in environments where I could very easily purchase drugs, and had friends who abused drugs, and knew drug dealers, I never purchased or used them. My parents, and my church did a very good job on educating on drug use. I knew what the long term effects were, and did not want to experience those effects.

    Now, ending the drug prohibition will dramatically decrease the price of drugs, which will then drive out the crimminal aspect of it (being able to afford drugs rather than resorting to stealing, gangs and mafia can’t make a profit anymore and their activity decreases), increase the quality (less accidental overdoses, though I have not seen a marijuana overdose – it may be hard to smoke the 150lbs necessary for overdose), decrease in necessary prison space (1 in 31 Americans is currently in prison/jail or parole. Many for drug related offenses), and allow people with a substance abuse problem to publicly seek help without fear of arrest.

    Also, why do you consider “Healing our World,” to be crap?

  11. Concerned Molino Resident on April 24th, 2009 12:35 pm

    Abbie, legalizing drugs because they do not hurt anybody, and the police should not arrest them, come on that makes no sense, Why not say legalize Bank Robbery with a note because it is a victimless crime to. Banks don’t need all that money. I bet you have never seen someone lose it over the years because of their addicition to marijuana, cocaine and now meth. Tell countless families who have walked in on their family members who have committed suicide over your harmless drugs. You talk about ” healing our world”, that is crap what you are telling people to read. To heal our world parents need to be responsible. End divorce, quit having women have 3 different babies with three different men., and getting an SSI check every month for every baby they have. A “Fear of God”,……. people don’t have anymore. That will heal our world , not making your harmless (victimless) cocaine, marijuana, and meth readily accessible to every grade schooler from 8th to 12th grade. A really great way to Heal our World is the Death Penalty ( and I am sure you don’t believe in it) for Drug dealers on their 15 conviction of course. We do not want to look like we are barbarians, better to look like bleeding heart liberals.

  12. Abbie on April 24th, 2009 7:46 am

    Concerned Molino Resident:
    I advocate for peaceful means of fighting the drug problem and you tell me I am sending America to Hell in a hand basket?
    I give an accurate historical example and parallel and you call me names and accuse me of drug use? The only drug I have used is called caffeine, which I consume naturally with my coffee. I also drink coffee irregularly (less than once a month on average) to avoid becoming addicted to caffeine, unlike most people I know.
    I would love to have an intelligent discussion regarding this topic, but it seems that no one actually wants to solve the drug problem, they only want to be right. That is unfortunate.
    It is said that people who don’t learn from the mistakes of the past are destined to repeat them. The alcohol prohibition in the 20’s is very similar to the drug prohibition we have today. At the end of the alcohol prohibition, Rockefeller said that
    “When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before.”

    This is exactly what is happening in our modern prohibition. Drug use has increased. New drugs are being created to as cheap alternatives to the current drugs at the black market prices. Taxes continue to rise to fight this war, our privacy and freedoms are being restricted. Innocent people get drugs planted on them. Families are broken up. People are killed: drug dealers and innocents.
    How much farther do you wish to take this idea of banning substances you don’t like? The drug war is not getting better. It is getting worse. Mexico appears to be a good example of what may happen to the US if we don’t end this war soon.
    And instead of forcing your neighbor to stay away from plants or substances you don’t like (with a gun), why not talk with them and help them. That works better than threatening them with jail or death for using plants you don’t like.
    Now, I promise to read and research any legitamate points in the comments here. Let’s just be adults about it and not call each other names.

  13. Terry on April 24th, 2009 7:37 am

    You tell him Smith. I think we need to shoot first let God be the judge. Let Morgans people send them to court.

  14. jim on April 24th, 2009 7:26 am

    I agree with Mr. S. sounds like he has been there we need to start getting rid of the crack sellers I report all the selling to crime stoppers. I do not want it on my block. Thank you Morgan

  15. Mr. Smithburn on April 24th, 2009 7:22 am

    J.P. if i had to guess i would say you must be young around say 21 years young. and you say from the city. you have a lot to learn my boy . I am old . you have strength I have wisdom as you get older you to will then understand the world an can put the pieces together. You like the word prohibition you should go back and study this for i lived it. people who write books leave things out and only tell their story.Century is a great place to live with lots of matured people if you wake up early one morning you can come and sit on the porch and learn something. sleeping and selling crack is no life. You blame the sheriff for ruining lives. Stupid why do you blame him when YOU did it to YOU don’t blame the police,the system or the judge.Stand up and say I did it to myself. Open your eyes and close your mouth some times and you will learn something. Young ans think they know everthing. Before the legalization of alcohol we did not have A.A. we did not have drunks lying on the corner jails were not full of drunks we did have car wrecks with people dead daily so what have we learned legalization was a bad mistake but we can not go back.Drinking a beer never hurt nobody but the drunks do.

  16. Concerned Molino Resident on April 24th, 2009 6:40 am

    Abbie, people like you and Jacob are exactly why America is going straight to Hell in a handbasket. You 2 not only sound ignorant but throw stupid in there also. Sounds like you two have prior arrests for your precious dope.

  17. ? on April 23rd, 2009 10:10 pm

    It absolutely baffles me that there are people who would discourage law enforcement from removing criminals from their neighborhoods. This is just amazing! A person who sells drugs is not a “law abiding citizen” whether they have prior “criminal disposition” or not.

    The sheriff is doing exactly the job he was elected to do and I, for one, thank him for it.

    I minister to children in the Century area & I see the effects on the children of growing up in homes where selling drugs is commonplace. They may never commit a violent crime in their lives. However, they grow up thinking that being a drug dealer is a respectable “occupation” but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s against the law! If the sheriff can change the next generation of citizens by removing their criminal parents from the streets, then he has succeeded in my book.

    Thank you sherrif–keep up the good work. We need as much cleaning up as we can get in the streets of Century.

  18. Jacob Pawelski on April 23rd, 2009 6:45 pm

    I don’t understand why people like insider keep their identity secret. How about putting your name next to your words so you can stand by them… For now, the people will keep their blinders on, and you hiding behind “insider” are not helping them see the light.

  19. insider on April 23rd, 2009 6:37 pm

    Ya’ll keep your blinders on… You people are so easily fooled.

  20. Kim on April 23rd, 2009 5:27 pm

    Good Job Sheriff Morgan!! I’m from Century and I’m so glad that they are finally doin something about all the drugs! It’s nice to know that the creeps out there selling and buying drugs will be dealt with. They have gotten away with too much for too long!!!!!

  21. W.R. on April 23rd, 2009 5:05 pm

    Good work Sheriff Morgan! Keep it up. When you make a bust shoot and ask questions later! That will get attention………….FAST

  22. Abbie on April 23rd, 2009 4:22 pm

    I should have been more specific in my comment relating to the article. Drugs are not the cause of the issues escambia is having with thefts, murders, etc. That statement may shock you, but to understand what I mean, you have to take a look at a bigger picture, one outside of immediate cause and effect. In response to Mr. Smithburn, yes, the immediate cause for the shootout you mention may have been drug related. But what was the true cause?

    The true cause is the drug war itself.

    Drugs may cause people to do things they don’t normally do, sure. But by making them illegal, you create a black market for those drugs. Now, only people with criminal dispositions sell them, and they are not sold by law abiding citizens. When you anger someone who does not have any inhibitions toward killing people, he probably will kill you. Sell him bad drugs, or skip a payment, and there probably will be a drug related murder in the newspaper. The same thing happened during the alcohol prohibition, and stopped when the prohibition ended.
    The drug prohibition is showing the same effects that the alcohol prohibition had. Continuing the drug war will only make things worse, and cause us to have the same problems Mexico is having.
    A better solution would be to lower demand for the drugs through education, recovery programs, etc.

    A really good book that covers this topic is “Healing Our World,” by Mary Ruwart, which is free here, if you do not wish to buy it.

  23. Jacob Pawelski on April 23rd, 2009 3:53 pm

    If you cannot see that restricting the buying and selling of drugs draws more dangerous people into the business, and artificially raises the price of the drugs forcing people to steal to get their fix, then I feel sorry for you. Government restrictions create black markets. Black markets provide less quality goods at much higher prices. So now you have people broke because the drugs cost to much, and getting unnatural side effects from lousy quality drugs (O.D. on Ex and Meth, ect, that would not normally be experienced). What you need to do is stop encouraging an ever increasingly dangerous black market and bring the sunlight to it. And instead of throwing drug addicts in jail, treat them like alcoholics and cigarette addicts. Instead of making laws against using drugs, you and your local church and community should do the outreach to these addicts. I lived in downtown Pensacola where shootings could be heard from next block over on a consistent basis. I know what this is like. But blaming the symptom for the violence is silly, look at the disease.

  24. Mr. Smithburn on April 23rd, 2009 2:59 pm

    The 512 have not hurt no one? Maybe some one needs to read this web site more often. We just had 2 nuts buy fake crack and return to the area and shoot up the whole place many officers had to respond all the neighbors were put in harms way and you say well they did not hurt no one, and let us not forget about all the houses that have been broken into in the north end lately most by crack heads oh yea they did not hurt no body. If any one believes buying and selling drugs does not hurt no one. I feel for you. Get a real job.. Thank you for caring Mr. Morgan Please clean up Century Fl. I am proud of the job your officers are doing……

  25. Jacob Pawelski on April 23rd, 2009 2:44 pm

    Thank you Morgan, for increasing the crack down on non-violent criminals and introducing them into a life that has statistically been shown to increase their violent nature.
    Now, I know you think your doing the right thing. You believe that the drug war is helping us, keeping us safe. A good study of crime before the drug war and crime since, and also a study on the prohibition of alcohol can easily show the flaws in this thinking, but hey, it is popular opinion, so lets ignore the facts.
    Just keep ruining peoples lives for not hurting anyone, but trying to live their lives as FREE people, and keep watching society deteriorate around you.

  26. Abbie on April 23rd, 2009 2:14 pm

    512 people were arrested for not hurting anyone. Good job Morgan!

  27. Ashley on April 23rd, 2009 10:45 am

    David Preston is famous now! We love you David!

  28. onyr on April 23rd, 2009 10:42 am

    Way to go Robocop (Mr. David)…. Waahoo your famous now!! Keep up the good work officers, but just leave me alone on the roads, PLEASE!!

  29. Ashley on April 23rd, 2009 10:32 am

    This story is another reason why we like You bring us the news, but you also brought us the sheriff. The story says he was invited to the lunch as a guest of — it’s amazing that this site is able to invite the sheriff to lunch and he comes to the north end. you have quickly blown the Tri city ledger out of the water in coverage and political power. They had to go here the sheriff at a meeting where he was invited by How pitifull is that?

  30. Sylvia Godwin on April 23rd, 2009 10:24 am

    I am so proud we have sherriff Morgan. This is the first time we have had anyone to really help us on the north end of the county. Thank You Mr. Morgan for caring about us.

  31. Laine on April 23rd, 2009 9:25 am

    Way to go! The pond street area needs to be cleaned up and I think Morgan is the man to do it.

  32. ? on April 23rd, 2009 7:20 am

    I hope they get my neighbor and keep him this time!

  33. Jack Moran on April 23rd, 2009 7:10 am

    Finally a Sheriff who knows how to fight crime!

    Thank you too A free-press is ESSENTIAL to Quality of Life.

  34. me on April 23rd, 2009 5:36 am

    good job, sherriff Morgan!!!

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