9 people surround victim's vehicle on I-4 near Disney, deputies say

Suspects arrested on unrelated drug charges

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Nine people got out of their van on Interstate 4 and surrounded the vehicle of a man they forced to stop in the middle of the road, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said the victim reported he was on I-4 near Epcot Center Drive at about 3:22 a.m. Wednesday when a van pulled up next to him and the occupants began screaming and pointing at him.

The victim asked why the van occupants were yelling him, and at that point, the van got in front of him and the driver slammed on the brakes, forcing the victim to stop in the middle of I-4, according to a news release.

Deputies said one woman and eight men ranging in age from 21 to 41 years old got out of the van and surrounded the victim's vehicle. The victim sped off and called 911 when one of the suspects brandished a firearm, the report said.

Deputies from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office pulled the van over on Victory Way and arrested all nine people inside on unrelated misdemeanor drug charges, according to authorities. No gun was found.

The suspects were identified as: Claxito Smith, Carlly Smith, Julio Romero, Trequalis McKoy, Julian Vazquez-Ortiz, Orlando Santiago, Natanael Velazquez, Jonathan Morales and Jose Rodriguez.

Osceola County Sheriff's Office Maj. Jacob Ruiz said marijuana and drug paraphernalia was found throughout the van when the suspects were arrested.

Because the alleged armed assault, which occurred when the suspects drew a weapon on the victim, happened in Orange County, the Orange County Sheriff's Office is investigating, Ruiz said.

Officials stopped short of classifying the incident as road rage.

"There are bad people out there who are willing to hurt you just over beeping the horn, or maybe somebody cuts you off, we see it often and it's very dangerous," Ruiz said. "We ask (for) patience and just if you can get a copy of the tag and call the Sheriff's Office, we will respond."

 

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