Baker County Sheriff: pot grower made threatening phone call to niece from prison
By Alyssa Spirato
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —
According to Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson, Troy Howell allegedly made a phone call home to his family last week, but it was who he spoke with that is causing him legal trouble.
Dobson says Howell was instructed and ordered by the court in his first appearance to not have any contact or hold a conversation with any of the witnesses or the victim in this case.
Howell was arrested last week on drug and child abuse charges, after police found a marijuana-growing operation in his mobile home, along with 3 children living in the residence. Howell was listed as their uncle and legal guardian. One of those children, an 18-year-old boy, was found chained to a bed in the home when police arrived.
“According to our phone system he did in fact speak to a 13-year-old for about 30 seconds out of a 14 minute conversation with his family,” Dobson said. "That 13-year-old turned out to be his niece, who was also the sibling of Howell’s nephew who was found chained to a bed.
As a result, Dobson says the Baker County Sheriff’s Office will issue a new charge of interfering or tampering with a witness, which will go to the State Attorney next for approval.
WOKV also spoke with Communication Director for the Department of Children and Families’ John Harrell who says the children who were living with their relatives at the time of the phone call have been moved to a foster home for safety.