FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – An undercover drug investigation sparked by complaints in a Fernandina Beach neighborhood has led to the arrest of three suspected cocaine dealers, according to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators said Ephrim Peterson, 54, and Lionel Quarterman Sr., 44, were arrested last week. A third suspect was arrested Monday afternoon, but his name was not released by publication of this article.
Investigators said a raid was carried out at a home on South 9th Street in Fernandina Beach.
“I heard this loudspeaker saying, ‘We have a search warrant. We have a search warrant,’ a resident of the neighborhood told News4JAX. “Then I heard glass breaking and doors being broken down.”
According to the arrest warrants, investigators conducted multiple undercover controlled purchases of cocaine from Peterson and Quarterman. Those purchases took place during the week of July 18. The home on South 9th Street wasn’t the only location identified by narcotics investigators as where drugs were being sold. Investigators said Peterson would meet an undercover operative at a home on South 11th Street and the two would walk to a nearby park to complete drug transactions.
Both Peterson and Quarterman now face a long list of illegal narcotics charges related to the investigation. And those charges were enhanced because, investigators said, the drug deals took place within 1,000 feet of a business, a church and a public park.
“Absolutely horrified,” the neighbor said. “I don’t have children, but I feel like those are not people I want as neighbors. And I had no idea.”
While investigators are being tight-lipped about the identity of the third suspect, they did confirm that this person has ties to the Peterson and Quarterman.