SPRING HILL, FL – Yesterday, July 20, just after about 10:30 p.m., Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a Traffic Stop on the driver of a Gold Honda Civic near the intersection of Elgin Boulevard and Barclay Avenue in Spring Hill. A look up of the license plate just prior to the stop revealed the registered owner to have a suspended driver’s license.
Deputies made contact with the driver to advise him the reason for the stop. At this time, the driver, who was the registered owner of the vehicle, handed his driver’s license to the deputy. The driver, identified as Dave Eric Hensley, told the deputy he was unaware of the suspension.
As deputies attempted to obtain identification from the two passengers in the vehicle, they asked Hensley if there were any firearms in the vehicle. Hensley stated that he did have a firearm in his pocket and that he did have a concealed weapons permit. Deputies requested Hensley to exit the vehicle, to which he willingly complied.
Deputies requested permission to remove the firearm from Hensley’s pocket for the duration of the Traffic Stop. Hensley granted permission. The firearm, a Ruger .380, was removed from Hensley’s pocket and placed inside a patrol car. Hensley produced a concealed weapons permit from the state of Virginia.
As deputies conducted a warrant checks on Hensley and the two passengers, a possible warrant was located on the male front seat passenger. At this time, he too was asked to exit the vehicle.
While the front seat passenger was exiting the vehicle, deputies observed another firearm, in plain view, inside the pocket of the driver’s door. Deputies asked Hensley if there were any additional firearms in the vehicle, to which he replied yes, under the clutter in the back seat. Hensley told deputies they were not permitted to retrieve the firearm from the back seat, he would get it out if they needed him to.
Deputy Jason Jernigan and K-9 Maxx were called to the scene while the wants and warrants checks were being completed. Upon arrival, K-9 Maxx conducted a drug sniff on the vehicle and quickly altered to the presence of illegal narcotics.
Deputies then conducted a search of the vehicle which revealed the following:
- Camouflage Zippered Bag (directly behind the driver’s seat) Located inside the bag: Firearm, Three clear plastic bags containing a crystal-like substance, One clear plastic bag containing a large amount of green pills, Numerous empty plastic bags, Sawed Off Shotgun w/a Pistol Grip (15 inch barrel),
- Black Bag (trunk) Located inside the bag: Numerous digital scales, One clear plastic bag containing a crystal-like substance
- Black Zippered Bag (trunk), Located inside the bag: $11,966 in US currency.
Deputies identified the green pills as Alprazolam, a schedule 4 controlled substance. There were a total of 137 Alprazolam pills in the bag. The crystal-like substances from each of the bags tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine. The total combined weight of the crystal-like substance located was 60 grams. In total, five firearms were recovered from the vehicle, one of which was concealed in Hensley’s pocket.
Hensley did not wish to speak with deputies regarding the items that were located inside his vehicle. The two passengers told deputies they had no knowledge of any of the items that were located in the vehicle. Sheriff Al Nienhuis said,
“This certainly shows that my deputies are dedicated to getting illegal drugs and illegal weapons off the streets. This type of good police work is one of the many reasons crime has been going down in the state of Florida and in Hernando County, over the last several years.”
Dave Eric Hensley, 50 was placed under arrest, and charged as follows:
- Trafficking in Methamphetamine
- Possession of a Controlled Substance w/Intent to Sell
- Carrying a Concealed Firearm
- Possession of Short Barrel Shotgun
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Bond – $56,000 (per the bond schedule).
One of the passengers, Vincent Gaona, 53, was found to have an active Hernando County warrant for his arrest for Violation of Probation. Gaona was arrested and charged accordingly.