Pensacola State Police scored the biggest drug bust in college history April 20, according to Chief Hank Shirah, netting $4,548 in U.S. currency and 500 grams of hydroponic marijuana with a street value of $10,000.
Andre Earl Johns, 22, was arrested and charged with possession of a weapon on school property; trespassing on school grounds; marijuana possession with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver a controlled substance; and drug equipment possession or use.
Stan Pagonis, Pensacola State College police officer of two years, was making a routine patrol about 5:21 p.m. through the parking lot between Building 1 and the Student Center, when he came upon what seemed to be an unaccompanied vehicle blaring very loud music.
“It was like booming,” Pagonis said.
The white 1989 Chevy Caprice was stopped in the middle of the drive lane in front of the math wing of Bldg. 1 when Pagonis noticed the car. A head quickly popped up from the driver’s seat as soon as Pagonis pulled up behind the vehicle. The driver pulled into a parking space and Pagonis activated his emergency lights to issue a citation for loud noise.
Pagonis said he followed standard procedures when he approached the car, and found that the suspect did not have his vehicle registration and that he had a concealed expandable baton, which is considered a weapon.
“It is a violation of state law to carry a weapon on school grounds,” Pagonis said.
Campus police dispatch notified Pagonis that the suspect had a prior history of battery on a law enforcement officer, according to the police report. Pagonis then placed Johns under arrest.
According to Pagonis, the suspect admitted to being under the influence and said his reason for being on campus was that he was waiting on one of his friends. He is not a registered student at Pensacola State College.
During a pat-down, Pagonis found large sums of cash in the suspect’s wallet and pockets totaling $4,548. Pagonis then requested assistance from the Pensacola Police Department K-9 Unit.
Officer Bruce Harris and his K-9 Shedo quickly arrived to the scene where the dog alerted on driver’s side rear door seam. A thorough search of the car by a combination of officers from the Narcotics Unit at the Pensacola Police Department, Pensacola State College Police, and the Pensacola Police K-9 Unit found and confiscated hydroponic marijuana from the trunk. Much of the marijuana was hidden in different containers, such as a round plastic bucket containing two plastic bags of marijuana, and a plastic cooler, to conceal it from sight and smell, according to Pagonis. Police also found an amount of marijuana in a plastic bag hidden in a pot pie box and in a cigar box.
The suspect was taken in to custody but he posted a $13,500 bond the next day. A court date has been set for May 12. On April 27, a not guilty plea was filed on his behalf.
On April 27, Johns was arrested by the Pensacola Police Department and charged again with marijuana possession with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver a controlled substance; possession of a controlled substance without a prescription; and possession of cocaine. Johns posted the $25,500 bail and was released. He was again arrested on April 28 on charges of resisting arrest without violence, marijuana possession of not more than 20 grams and smuggling contraband into a detention center. Johns posted $3,500 bail and was released.
Pensacola State College Police officers make many different patrols daily but their main goal and duty is protecting the campus, the students, and the faculty.
Assistant Chief Peggy Smith said,” I think it was a good job on officer Pagonis’ part to be in the right place and paying attention to what is going on out there.”