SPRING HILL, FL – On Tuesday, April 6, at approximately 6:15 p.m., Deputy Trevor Jones was conducting a Security Check at the 7-Eleven convenience store located at 4710 Commercial Way in Spring Hill, when he observed a gold Ford Windstar minivan parked at one of the gas pumps.
Upon closer examination of the minivan, Deputy Jones observed the decal attached to the Florida tag was expired, as of February, 2008. A query of the Florida tag revealed it was no longer assigned to a vehicle and had been returned to the DHSMV in Pasco County.
The driver of the minivan, later identified as Thomas Abel, pulled away from the gas pumps, heading toward Berkeley Manor Boulevard and eventually onto Commercial Way. As Abel proceeded southbound on Commercial Way passing Perkins restaurant, Deputy Jones conducted a Traffic Stop where he made contact with the driver, who identified himself as Thomas Abel via his Florida ID card.
Abel told the deputy “he found the tag at a house he’d been staying at” so he decided to attach it to the minivan. He also stated he’d recently purchased the minivan and it was not registered. Abel was unable to provide a title and/or a bill of sale to prove ownership of the vehicle.
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Abel was removed from the minivan and detained in the deputy’s patrol vehicle. When asked if there was anything illegal in the minivan, Abel’s response was, “There shouldn’t be.” Abel gave consent for a search of the minivan, advising there was a paint-ball gun between the driver and passenger seats.
A search of the minivan revealed two clear baggies containing a crystal-like substance, two cut straws, two baggies containing five white pills each, one clear baggie containing one pink pill, one clear glass smoking pipe, 16 clear baggies – each containing a brown powder-like substance, a large amount of clear, unused baggies and a digital scale.
Abel declined to speak to Deputy Jones regarding the items found inside his minivan. Upon arrival at the detention center, all substances were tested and weighed. The crystal-like substance tested positive for the presence of Methamphetamine. The items weighed 10.5 grams and 10.9 grams and were weighed without packaging. The brown power-like substance tested positive for the presence of Fentanyl. The total weight of the 16 baggies was 4.9 grams. The white round pills were Methadone Hydrochloride, a schedule 2 controlled substance. The pink pill was a Clonazepam, a schedule 4 controlled substance.
Thomas Abel, 62, was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine and a controlled substance, two counts of possession of controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, knowingly driving while license suspended or revoked, and unregistered motor vehicle. His bond is $157,000.