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19-year-old turns himself in on warrant charging him with theft of firearm

A Fruitland Park teen has turned himself on a warrant for a stolen firearm discovered during a traffic stop he fled earlier this month.

Clifton Demartin Johnson
Clifton Demartin Johnson

Clifton Demartin Johnson, 19, went to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office this past week to face charges involving theft and resisting arrest. Of the three handguns found in his vehicle over two weeks ago, only one was stolen. 

On April 5, officers with the Leesburg Police Department were conducting routine patrol activities on the area of Tuskegee Street and Harlem Avenue when they observed a black 2012 two-door Cadillac, according to an affidavit of probable cause out of Lake County. As the vehicle passed, they noticed the front side window tint appeared to be too dark. Officers got directly behind the Cadillac, and as it pulled into a residence located at 1212 Tuskegee Street, they initiated a traffic stop by turning on their overhead emergency lights. 

The officers got out of their patrol vehicle, and as they approached the Cadillac, both doors opened. Both subjects were ordered to stay inside, to which they complied. Once a K-9 unit arrived, officers approached the Cadillac, the affidavit said. 

Contact was then made with the driver, identified as Johnson. The affidavit noted that the officer who conducted the initial traffic stop also had prior contact with him on Feb. 20 when he stopped him for driving with a suspended license. After testing the front driver-side window with a certified tint meter that read 3%, officers asked Johnson for his license. 

As officers continued speaking with Johnson, they could smell the strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from the vehicle. He advised that he smoked marijuana but stated there was none in his car at that time, the affidavit said. 

Officers next asked Johnson and the front-seat passenger to get out of the vehicle. The passenger provided his driver’s license while the officers told Johnson that they were going search the vehicle based on the odor of marijuana coming from it. As officers were patting down Johnson, the officer with the K-9 unit detained him for being in possession of marijuana, the affidavit said. 

After the passenger was secured, officers searched the vehicle while a back-up officer stood with Johnson. They saw three unsecured handguns lying in plain view on the rear passenger-side floorboard within reach of Johnson. The back-up officer standing with him was advised to detain Johnson, at which time he fled on foot, the affidavit said. 

The back-up officer immediately gave chase, ordering Johnson to stop. He ultimately lost sight of Johnson after he ran into an apartment complex on Mishap Avenue, possibly running into an unknown apartment, the affidavit said. 

Once the firearms were secured, a check revealed that one of the handguns, a .45 caliber Glock 30, was confirmed as being stolen on Dec. 21, 2020, through LCSO. All three handguns were loaded with a live round in the chamber. There were also boxes of ammunition located in the backseat area, the affidavit said. 

The passenger advised that Johnson, who he did not really know, picked him up in Lady Lake earlier that day. They were just riding around before being stopped, but he had no idea about the guns in the vehicle. The marijuana in his possession weighed about 19 grams. He was later issued a Lake County Notice to Appear and released from the scene, the affidavit said. 

Johnson ultimately turned himself to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with grand theft of a firearm and resisting a law enforcement officer without violence. He was transported to Lake County Jail and released after posting $3,500 bond. 

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