Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Green Cove Man, 68, Jailed on Pot Charges

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Green Cove Man, 68, Jailed on Pot Charges

Article excerpt

GREEN COVE SPRINGS -- A senior Green Cove Springs couple, including a convicted felon police called a "pot-dealing institution," face marijuana and firearms charges.

William Robert "Pop" Finley, 68, and his common-law wife, Louella Anna Whitfield, 77, were arrested Friday night by undercover officers with the Clay County Narcotics Task Force.

Finley, who has a 43-year criminal history of narcotics violations and burglary charges, had a handgun in his pocket when he arrived at his home on North Road near Gustafson's Dairy, detectives said.

He was charged with armed possession of marijuana, felony possession of marijuana, carrying a concealed firearm, possession of a concealed firearm by a convicted felon and sale and delivery of marijuana. Each charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Whitfield was arrested inside the couple's home and charged with two counts of sale and delivery of marijuana. Whitfield was released from jail on $25,000 bond. Finley remained in jail yesterday under $50,000 bond.

Mary Justino, spokeswoman for the Clay County Sheriff's Office, said Finley's criminal record dates back to 1956, including convictions on marijuana charges in 1992, 1994 and 1996.

"Pop Finley is a pot-dealing institution in the Green Cove Springs area," said Lt. Larry Thompson, task force coordinator. "Everyone knew they could get a bag from Pop."

Authorities hope that Finley's arrest may lead investigators to other drug dealers, Justino said. Authorities also seized Finley's two vehicles, a bass boat, a shotgun and three handguns.

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