FBI: Florida deputy, trooper with DEA ties involved in drugs

Handcuffs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The FBI has arrested two Florida law enforcement officers on charges of involvement with illegal drugs after both had worked together on a Drug Enforcement Administration task force.

Federal court records show that James Darrell Hickox, a sergeant with the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, and Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joshua Earrey were arrested separately last week. Hickox is charged with possession with intent to sell drugs illegally and Earrey with using illegal drugs while possessing a firearm.

Emails seeking comment were left Tuesday with attorneys for Hickox and Earrey. Hickox is jailed without bail; Earrey is out on a $50,000 bond, according to court records.

Hickox, 37, is a 17-year veteran of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office and was assigned to the DEA task force from 2014 to 2022. Earrey, 44 and a 22-year highway patrol veteran, had been working on the same DEA task force since 2020.

An FBI affidavit says Hickox routinely sold drugs including cocaine, ecstasy and a substance containing fentanyl. A confidential informant told the FBI that Hickox and others often stole money and drugs “off the top” from suspects, keeping the cash and selling the drugs. Large quantities of both were found at Hickox’s home, according to the affidavit.

In the Earrey case, the FBI says he has been addicted to oxycodone since 2021 and had been buying drugs from another confidential informant. The FBI also says Earrey obtained 43 legal prescriptions for oxycodone, hydrocodone and a form of morphine.

Both officers have been fired by their agencies.