Usually, when folks hear the name “Eastbound & Down,” they think of the hilarious HBO show about washed-up pitcher starring Danny McBride as Kenny Powers. Today, the name has a different meaning for individuals accused of pitching coke and marijuana. Antoine Danielle Pearson Jr., 20, Derrick Alexander, 55, Phillip “Cheese” Lee, 31, Shacobi Shantell Williams, 38, Brandon Jaron McKnight, 26, Brian Antwan Jordan, 34, Patrick St. John Robinson, 50, Patrick James Johnson, 43, and Darrell Keith Brown, 37, were all busted in Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s (JSO) Operation Eastbound & Down, a nine-month multi-state investigation. In all, the authorities seized 32.5 kilos of cocaine worth more than $1.5 million, 16.6 pounds of weed and $500,000 in cash. also seized were 2 AK-47’s, three pistols, two semi-trucks and three other vehicles believed to be tied to the drug trafficking operation. The JSO flyer associated with the bust suggests drugs were being brought into Jacksonville from Texas.
The announcement Thursday afternoon came after felony charges were brought against Betty Mayner Pearson, 42, a corrections officer for the JSO. She was charged with aiding the attempted escape of the aforementioned Antoine Pearson, Jr.. Pearson Jr. and his father were ID’d as local drug distributors. On August 21st, when officers arrived at a Jacksonville home to arrest Pearson Jr. for cocaine possession, he was sitting in his car in the driveway. It is alleged that he was tipped off by his mother that the boys were coming. He bolted, hopped over fences and got into a car driven by two women. He was taken into custody after a traffic stop. Police found a gun on him.
First Coast News elaborates on the charges others received:
Alexander, Lee, Williams, Robinson, Johnson, and Jordan are charged with conspiring to traffic in cocaine, according to their arrest reports. They’re being on bonds varying between $1-3 million.
Brown is charged with armed trafficking in cocaine, smuggling cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver. McKnight is charged with possession of marijuana.
Brown was arrested in July on eastbound Interstate 10 near the 350 mile marker in Jacksonville, police told reporters. According to his arrest report, a car hauler he was driving was stopped initially July 2 for following too closely and for a commercial vehicle inspection. A K-9 search later found a handgun, marijuana and a gym bag carrying 15 kilograms of a substance that tested positive for cocaine.
“That cocaine goes all over Jacksonville,” said Sheriff Mike Williams. “…People come from all over the city to Northwest Jacksonville to buy this cocaine.” He continued, “We’re committed to making Jacksonville the hardest city in America to deal drugs in.”