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Arrested Homeless Panhandler Alleged to be Wanted Felon


Officers called to investigate a panhandler obstructing traffic discover that the homeless man they came to investigate is allegedly a wanted felon in possession of a firearm and cannabis.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies were called to the corner of Gornto Lake Road and Causeway Boulevard on Tuesday by passing motorists reporting a panhandler blocking traffic. After setting up patrols in the area, they say they happened upon a man with a sign that described him as homeless and needing help around 4 o'clock. Deputies went on to say that a background check of the man, forty-one-year-old James Edward Williams Jr., showed that he had outstanding warrants for violating probation, as well as several drug-related offenses.

Williams was brought to Hillsborough County Jail upon his arrest, where deputies say they found a Cobra Model CA32 single-action pistol, several rounds of .32 Auto, and an amount of cannabis packed in a manner they say indicates an intent to distribute it. They further allege that the black-market value of the cannabis they discovered to be in the neighborhood of $1,000. Deputies also allege that they discovered credit and identification cards that did not belong to him.

Williams, who did not report a home address, employer, nor occupation, is being held without bond in jail on counts of possession of cannabis, possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a convenience store, possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of felon in possession of a firearm (one for the firearm itself, and the other for the ammunition), and two counts of violation of probation, both for possession of a controlled substance.

The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have over two decades of experience defending individuals against state and federal felony drug charges. Contact us today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area charges.

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  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

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