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Former Deputy Arrested Again, Capt. Resigns, Amid Allegations of Evidence Tampering

PASCO – Disturbing new developments in the arrest of former Pasco County Deputy Joseph Mercado, after officials say he’s been arrested again for tampering with evidence in an unrelated case.

Sheriff Nocco announced the new charge during a press conference this morning, and he also reported the resignation of a District 1 Captain who was found to be involved in covering up Mercado’s crime.

According to Nocco, after Mercado’s original arrest, complaints began coming in about other incidents involving Mercado. After looking back at a December 2017 case, it was revealed that Mercado was investigating an incident on Catalonia Drive and arrested a subject for possession of Methamphetamine. During a search of the suspect’s bag, Mercado located syringes and other paraphernalia associated with methamphetamine use. A neighbor’s surveillance camera captured Mercado throwing the bag over his fence during the investigation. The homeowner found the bag and immediately destroyed the drug evidence before giving it back to the suspect. As a convicted felon “trying to turn his life around,” says Sheriff Nocco, the homeowner reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Office.

It was later revealed through their investigation that Captain James Steffans covered up Mercado’s crime and has since resigned.

Nocco says, “As Sheriff I will not tolerate it, as Sheriff I am standing here, and as Sheriff I promise to every citizen out there, when you see a Pasco Sheriff you know there is trust and integrity.” Nocco alluded to the possibility of additional firings or charges as the investigation continues.

Nocco urges anyone who may have had dealings with former-Deputy Mercado or have complaints about cases involving Mercado to come forward.

RNRF broke the news of Mercado’s arrest on March 6th, after it was revealed that he allegedly committed a sex act and battered a woman back on February 15th. Mercado was subsequently arrested on February 28th and terminated from the Sheriff’s Office. (CLICK HERE FOR BREAKING REPORT)

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  • Thank you Tom without this page I couldn’t vent and tell all if nobody what the Brooksville cops did to me, after fighting cancer for 12 yrs and dealing with mental illness and what the penal system is basically allowed to do to us I don’t give up for anything and am now after twice in a mental state (never touched anyone) I have been beat, jailed and in Citrus I lasted 16 days in there and had to detox off of very serious meds but I surprised them and walked out no shoes and fought. I am now going to do some research on how to stop this, this is my story Tom and many others like me. Thank you

    Monday, 26 March 2018, 12:50 pm
  • Hey, I’m glad I’m a made man, we don’t have to put up wit any of this crap, any of this crap!

    Thursday, 22 March 2018, 9:10 pm
  • Tammy just curious are you possibly the individual who called 911 for a ride home in the middle of the night somewhere on North 19 near the Heather quite a while back? If so I’m sorry but that’s not what 911 is for by any stretch of the means, if I’m wrong my apologies don’t know all the circumstances of your case but I wish you luck with it

    Monday, 19 March 2018, 2:08 pm
    • This is Tammy Again I NEVER CALLED for a ride from the cops I have been fighting Breast cancer for 12 yrs and it’s been horrible I called once when I was driving to the hospital & almost there and called for help and was taken to the hospital (I had a horrible headache and I couldn’t see so I pulled over FOR HELP) After I left th ER I was confused and sick, if I knew where I was I could of walked to my car that was almost a mile away in stead of walking 4 miles in complete darkness crying and frightened on side of rt 19 and I was arrested they thought I was my twin who lives in Brooksville also the guards in the detention center was givin the thumbs up to beat me which I was and the female cop that was there when I was arrested and said “yea I got my tits cut off too while in the cruiser the male cop farted thoes 2 vulgar ppl were arresting me for abuse of 911? And I’m a senior, I go to court Thursday after being abused,beaten for what asking for HELP. I NEVER ASKED FOR A RIDE THEY ARE LIARS AND AFTER 5 months my story has NEVER CHANGED

      Tuesday, 20 March 2018, 10:29 pm
    • I just found out my court appointed attorney has been LYING one of his buddies were part of arresting me I’m NOT GOING TO PLEAD GUILTY OF SOMETHING I DIDN’T DO WITH ALL THIS CORRUPTION THEY WANT TO BURY ME FOR ABUSING 911, I AM ASKING FOR A NEW ATTORNEY AND IM GOING TO FREAK OUT

      Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 1:39 pm
  • Sulfuric mist! Spot on well said I said something similar to that on a comment of mine several weeks ago this guy is the real deal Mr Grady Judd he rocks!!! Damn would you make one hell of a president and one hell of a bunch of other things this guy just gets it he means when he says he says what he means and he does what he says nothing watered-down no BS straight-up truth and facts yes we could use many of him in many different places from president to sheriff judge you name it oh well it’s nice to dream!!!

    Monday, 19 March 2018, 1:57 pm
  • And the sheriffs office wants to fry me for calling 911 the thing is they have LIED ABOUT EVERYTHING. I asked them to listen to the TWO 911 calls and the refuse to or they heard it and don’t want to admit what they did WAS HORRIBLEY WRONG. They all are CORRUPT. I want again my day in court and I’m sure the reporters on the firing of Police chief is just a dribble ready to open a flood gate to the sh*t these 2 agencies of corrupt BS.

    Saturday, 17 March 2018, 11:31 am
    • I WILL take a poly any time.

      Sunday, 25 March 2018, 1:41 pm
  • Can we clone Grady Judd for every district in the state?

    Saturday, 17 March 2018, 11:23 am

    Saturday, 17 March 2018, 8:49 am
  • We need this guy in Hernando to clean up the idiots running the Hernando County sheriff organization. It seems like he has some integrity. Wish I could say the same for All Nieheiuss

    Friday, 16 March 2018, 10:16 pm
  • I have told my kids and my whole family not to trust a cop they are organized criminals at taxpayer cost and not here to uphold the law. Pasco County and Hernando County are Sanctuary City for illegal immigrants,and Nocco or Nienhus will not enforce the law. They both talk out there AS!!! You will never see a Mexican pulled over for nothing

    Friday, 16 March 2018, 9:45 pm
  • Wow. Are we doing back ground checks or psych evaluations on these people. Seems we are hiring thugs. How many people are still there over 40 yoa. I know he got rid of all the over 50. Who is leading this this group. Seems like seniority is in the 20 s. It a shame

    Friday, 16 March 2018, 6:56 pm
  • 777.03 Accessory after the fact.—
    (1)(a) Any person not standing in the relation of husband or wife, parent or grandparent, child or grandchild, brother or sister, by consanguinity or affinity to the offender, who maintains or assists the principal or an accessory before the fact, or gives the offender any other aid, knowing that the offender had committed a crime and such crime was a third degree felony, or had been an accessory thereto before the fact, with the intent that the offender avoids or escapes detection, arrest, trial, or punishment, is an accessory after the fact.

    Friday, 16 March 2018, 5:58 pm
  • Great job Sheriff Nocco. That’s why I keep voting for you. I know your deputies love you and here is prime example as to why. You work hard to maintain the integrity of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department. Keep up the good work. And, thank you for your service to our community. Proud to have you as my Sheriff.

    Friday, 16 March 2018, 5:44 pm
    • Sheriff Nocco is probably the most ethical sheriff in Florida. I wish he was in Hernando County

      Saturday, 17 March 2018, 11:33 am
    • I just finished reading a site on FB to where New Port Richey was #3 on the worst city in Florida where to live.

      Saturday, 17 March 2018, 12:21 pm
  • Law Enforcement Oath of Honor. On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character, or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the constitution, and will remain loyal to my community and the agency I serve. How many have forgotten?

    Friday, 16 March 2018, 3:26 pm
    • Put the words ‘except for GREED’ at the end of every sentence then it all makes sense and will be 100 % correct.

      Tuesday, 20 March 2018, 6:20 pm
  • Great job there Nocco!! We need a sheriff like Nocco to come clean up the mess in Hernando County. Hernando County thrives on bad deputies and rarely finds any wrongdoing on their part.

    Friday, 16 March 2018, 2:21 pm
    • Is this a joke? Do you know how many deputies/detectives Nienhuis has terminated since becoming sheriff? It’s into the double digits.

      Friday, 16 March 2018, 3:09 pm
      • He started off great but somewhere along the line something changed with him. He had everyone’s respect but now it’s all about politics. It amazes me that he demoted two lieutenants for dating and ended up getting married but allows multiple affairs to continue to happen within the agency. He preaches integrity but you only have to maintain your loyalty to him not your spouse.

        Saturday, 17 March 2018, 10:48 am
    • For real! We need a sheriff like HIM!

      Friday, 16 March 2018, 4:23 pm
  • Despicable these men and women are supposed to uphold the law not break it I’d be curious to find out what the deputies involvement was with the person with whom he found the drugs. Good for the sheriff hopefully he’s cleaning out the rest of his dirty house

    Friday, 16 March 2018, 2:17 pm
  • Shame Shame Shame.. We teach our children to look up to Police officers and they are there to help. So sad today w/ all the corruption…

    Friday, 16 March 2018, 2:11 pm
  • My God, we are putting the wrong people in jail, the sheriffs in our region need to get proactive and get rid of the dirty deputies, the ones masturbating on duty in uniform and in front of female citizens. No wonder that the average citizen in our communities don’t know who to trust, the cops or the bad guys. This situation has gotten worse over the past couple years and needs to be stopped before our citizens won’t support law enforcement in any way, than its to late……”…wake up sheriffs.

    Friday, 16 March 2018, 1:19 pm
    • The HCSO deputy that “masturbated” in his car was an allegation, it was never proven. He was having sexual relations with a girl, stopped talking to her and she sought revenge BECAUSE he was a cop.

      Friday, 16 March 2018, 3:10 pm
      • so, was she fired?

        Saturday, 17 March 2018, 4:36 am
      • Then why did he apologize for it? Many things get swept under the rug as long as there is plausible deniability.

        Saturday, 17 March 2018, 10:53 am
    • Your so right fire ALL of them the sheriff and all his stupid deputies, they are ass corrupt as hell and I don’t trust them with the pile of shit my dog just got rid of

      Saturday, 17 March 2018, 12:01 pm

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