CHIPLEY –  In two unrelated arrests, suspects learn that drug use is not a victimless crime, particularly when children are involved.

A Washington County Sheriff’s deputy stopped a vehicle entering  the Ebro Dog Track parking lot after witnessing it nearly hit two other vehicles on State Road 79. During the stop, the driver of the vehicle, 30-year-old Joshua Earnest of Freeport, told deputies "he had just purchased the truck from a friend and when cleaning it out, earlier in the day, located a bag with illegal items in it," according to a Washington County Sheriff's Office news release.

However, after the deputy asked him for clarification, Earnest stated the bag his friend left behind contained a meth pipe and a small bag of methamphetamine. A vehicle search resulted in deputies locating the bag, which Earnest then admitted belonged to him.

Earnest was booked into the Washington County Jail on the charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

And on Tuesday, May 20, a WCSO deputy stopped a vehicle on U.S. Highway 20, subsequently arresting both occupants after multiple ecstasy pills were located during a search of the vehicle, along with a straw and glass pipe, which tested positive for methamphetamine.

Tiffany Martinez, 32, of Freeport and Damian Coatney, 29, were taken into custody and transported to the Washington County Jail. 

The Department of Children and Families was contacted to take possession of the small child in the vehicle.

"Drug use in the least is dangerous, if not deadly to the abuser," said Sheriff Kevin Crews in a released statement.  "But knowing that the majority of these cases have children involved, directly or indirectly, is beyond heartbreaking.  Some will claim this is a victimless crime, however we see it differently daily.  Children are being abused, neglected, and put in danger because of the drug use around them. We are not going to tolerate this in Washington County."

After arriving at the jail, deputies located a vial containing methamphetamine that Martinez admitted to attempting to hide in the backseat of the patrol vehicle, the release stated.

Martinez was booked on the charges of possession of ecstasy, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and tampering with evidence. Coatney was booked on a misdemeanor charge of driving with a suspended license.