DeLand commissioner suspended amid drug trafficking allegation

Commissioner Jeffrey Hunter arrested in June

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

DeLAND, Fla. - A DeLand city commissioner who was arrested on a drug trafficking charge amid a blackmail investigation has been suspended.

Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order on Friday to remove Jeffrey Hunter from serving the city in light of the criminal charge against him.

Hunter was arrested June 28 on a charge of trafficking in hydrocodone after authorities said he gave his girlfriend, Jessica Sutton, hydrocodone pills on at least seven different occasions.

Officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Hunter left voicemails for Sutton during which he described the number of pain pills he had available.

The investigation into Hunter initially began when he reported that Sutton and her boyfriend, Jose Santiago, were blackmailing him, according to reports. Hunter claimed that he gave Sutton thousands of dollars for medical treatments, but she instead spent that money with Santiago.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said that Santiago threatened Hunter and his family, telling him through text that he had "dirt and info" that would "have (Hunter) arrested for a very long time."

Deputies said Santiago was arrested in December when they met him at a bank where Hunter told him he'd meet him to give him $12,000.

It's unclear when the DeLand City Commission will replace Hunter.

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