Around the Region, Oct. 1


Published: Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 6:40 p.m.

POLICE BEAT

138 pounds of drug collected at event

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office collected 138 pounds of drugs on Saturday as part of the Nationwide DEA Drug Take Back event.

Sheriff’s officials at Walgreens at 9125 NW 39th Ave. collected 18 pounds; at Walgreens at 2415 SW 75th St., 55.5 pounds; and at Walgreens at 1120 E. University Ave., 64.5 pounds.

“Drug overdose death rates in the United States have more than tripled since 1990 and have never been higher according to the Center for Disease Control,’’ said Sheriff Sadie Darnell. “By participating in these take back events, you not only make your medicine cabinet safer, but the community safer.”

— Staff report

Man critical at hospital after crashing his ATV

A 28-year-old man from Jacksonville was in critical condition after an ATV he was driving crashed in Dixie County, according to a report.

Thomas F. Palagyi was driving a 2011 Polaris ATV south on County Road 361 11 miles south of Jena around 11:45 p.m. Saturday when he went into a marshy area, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Palagyi lost control of the ATV, the report states, and struck a rock, which flipped the vehicle and threw him several feet.

Palagyi was taken to Shands at the University of Florida, where he was in critical condition, according to the FHP.

— Staff report

STATE

Reputed mob boss now living in Boca Raton

BOCA RATON — Reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph Merlino has moved to glitzy Boca Raton a year after serving a 14-year sentence for extortion and illegal gambling.

Merlino is living in a cookie-cutter development still partly under construction off Interstate 95. It’s unclear what he’s doing in South Florida.

The Miami Herald reports Merlino said he’s now in the carpet-installing business.

A telephone listing for Merlino could not be found.

Merlino was allegedly the acting boss of the Philadelphia-South Jersey mob when he was arrested in June 1999 on drug charges. He also was tried and acquitted of ordering the 1996 killing of a northern New Jersey mob associate, Joseph Sodano.

“The word we got is Joey has a benefactor, he has somebody pumping money into him. How else could he get out of prison and move into a $400,000 house and drive a Mercedes,” said Stephen LaPenta, a retired Philadelphia police lieutenant who worked undercover as a mob informant.

— The Associated Press

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