Epilogue: Police find drugs, paraphernalia in lobbyist’s Tallahassee home

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

A former lobbyist’s home in a well-to-do section of Tallahassee was raided after neighbors tipped off the homeowners’ association about “odd activities at the property.”



The Tallahassee Democrat reported Wednesday that neighbors noticed as many nine people appeared to be living in the five-bedroom Ox Bottom house owned by Ben G. Parks, the former long-time lobbyist for the Florida Farm Bureau.

The Democrat’s latest report was based on information in a return of a search warrant. A public record request from FloridaPolitics.com to the Leon County Clerk’s Office for that document was constructively denied Wednesday when deputy clerks said the file could not be located.

While searching Parks’ home, police found drugs and paraphernalia throughout and “noted it would be hard for anyone inside the home to be oblivious to the activities there,” the Democrat reported, saying investigators described it as “a communal living setting.”

“Along with the suspected drugs, police found items such as metal spoons with drug or burn residue, razor blades, syringes, baggies and prescription pills,” the newspaper reported.

Police previously searched the house’s garbage cans while at the curb, which does not require a warrant, finding “glass pipes with drug residue, a straw caked in drug residue, tubing consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine and a prescription pill bottle with Parks’ name,” according to the Democrat story.

Parks did not register to lobby during the 2016 Legislative Session, state records show. He also has previously represented Florida Crystals Corp.

Parks, 62, was charged last month with possession of illicit drugs and drug equipment, and keeping a drug house. He was released from the Leon County Jail on bail.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.