for immediate release
January 6, 2003

N E W S   R E L E A S E

A month-long undercover investigation has resulted in two weekend arrests, with one of the defendants facing additional felony charges after ramming a police car and injuring an investigator.

Benjamin Nelson Pearce (pictured left), age 31 (7-2-1971), of 348 Brookwood Boulevard, Mary Esther, was arrested Saturday afternoon (January 4) at the conclusion of a controlled drug transaction in the parking lot of the Choctaw Plaza Shopping Center on Racetrack Road. Pearce attempted to drive off as law enforcement officers converged on the scene with flashing lights. His vehicle rammed the driver's door of an unmarked patrol car as Investigator Todd Watkins was exiting the car to participate in the arrest. Investigator Watkins received leg and head injuries as he was pinned between the vehicles for several minutes.

Pearce was arrested on charges of Aggravated Battery on Law Enforcement Officer with a Deadly Weapon; Sale of Cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school; Sale of Cocaine with 1,000 feet of a Convenience Store; Resisting Arrest, Possession of Marijuana; and Child Neglect. He is held in the Okaloosa County Jail under bond of $50,000.

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for more information contact Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420

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