Escambia County

The longest’s a humdinger

August 7, 2009

August 6, 2009 will go down as one of the longest days in my life as a journalist. We were dealing with two rumors all day. One was the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office was once again pushing to get an arrest warrant for Henry Cab Tice, the used car dealer who I had reported over a week ago as a person of interest in the murders of Bud and Melanie Billings and whether they were contract hits (The Daily Beast and IN Buzz). The second rumor was that Cab Tice had returned from Colombia, South America and was back in the area (The Daily Beast).

Rumors of an imminent arrest of Cab Tice have floated around since I first reported that those being questioned by investigators were telling law enforcement that the double homicide was actually murder-for-hire and that Patrick Gonzalez, Jr had been paid between $20,000-$50,000 for the killings. However, the arrest never materialized, leaving me and others believing that there was a political battle being waged between the State Attorney’s Office and the ECSO over Tice and the contract killing theory. After all, the robbery-gone-wrong angle was straight-forward and even Joe Pesci’s character from “My Cousin Vinny,” Vincent Gambini, could prosecute the case as it stood without any conspiracy plots.

All Wednesday, I received phone calls that Tice was coming back Thursday. WEAR’s Dan Thomas also reported it in his Cab Tice piece on Tuesday. Why was Tice returning? We had heard from several sources that Tice had fled to Colombia where he reportedly has a new wife. The big question for many about Tice and his business dealings with Bud Billings and others is where is all the money that he reportedly owes Billings ($150K-$300K), former business partner Wayne Peterson ($50K-$150K) and others, including his ex-wife.

By all accounts, Tice is nearly penniless and has no visible assets. Friends say that he doesn’t do drugs or gamble—although he does like Tequila, but not excessively to the tune of $1M. Could Tice have stashed money away in Colombia? No one knows.

When Tice came late yesterday afternoon to the offices of the ECSO, I fully believe that he didn’t think that he would be arrested. Tice, the consummate used car salesman, was there—I believe—to find out what the ECSO had on him and to “play” Sheriff Morgan. It didn’t work. Over nearly three hours of questioning, Tice told investigators of his connections with the Mexican mafia, from whom Tice said that he had borrowed $50K. It’s unclear whether it was a one-time loan or some kind of revolving credit plan. When the Tice interview was over, Cab was arrested for grand theft—for the cars that he sold off his Hispanic-American Auto Sales lot without paying off his creditor, Worldco Financial Services—a company owned by the Billings family.

The Mexican mafia connection to this case is one that I first heard within days of the killings, but I could never pin it down. There have been so many false leads in this investigation that I couldn’t determine whether the Mexican mafia theory was just another urban legend. The funny thing is that I heard more about the Mexican mafia in relationship with Patrick Gonzalez, Jr. and Pam Wiggins than Tice. However, I never could solidly tie it all down….and despite what the other media may think about my investigative work and my sources, I’ve been very careful in verifying the information that I have reported on this case.

Gulf Breeze – where Gonzalez and Wiggins live- had a recent federal case that many locals believed was tied to the Mexican mafia or the Mexican gang MS 13. In December 2007, Cancun’s Mexican Grill was raided by local, state and federal authorities–the charges were drug and human trafficking. Twenty-five people were arrested in the raids, 15 of whom were deported. Owner Rogelio Galvan-Chavez was sentenced to life in prison April 30, 2008 for operating a drug ring from his business and violating immigration laws (DOJ press release).

I am working on an article for The Daily Beast and will have more later. Stay tuned.

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  • pepper August 20, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Want More? go to Maggies Notebook

  • WouldRatherNotSay August 11, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    “Humdinger seems” to be the best place to post this. We’re talkin’
    fried chicken with every order of pot and two used cars in every garage – oops!

    Henry Tice’s brother’s web site is no longer on-line but below are three of the remaining links to it. The link summaries will give you some idea but watch the two You Tube segments to hear how he will handle taxation and marijuana as president of the United States.
    What do I mean? Son Of Jefferson? | Son of Jefferson Oct 23, 2008 … GO TO: to read Thornton’s platform of REAL, OBTAINABLE & PRACTICAL points of platform THAT CAN DELIVER US FROM OUR … – Similar

    Big Brother Fascism Is Here! The takeover of America is Eminent … Jan 26, 2009 … FEMA Concentration Camps:

    Locations and Executive Orders Friends of Liberty (undated) 3sep04. [ Below: U.S. Concentration Camps: FEMA and … – Similar

    Son of Jefferson | God uses everyday people to change the world.Welcome to! This is the home
    page of “Tice for President”. “In a time of universal deceit to tell the truth is a revolutionary act.” … – Similar

    You Tube Segment One
    FOR PRESIDENT / A Son of Jefferson … …

    You Tube Segment Two
    FOR PRESIDENT / A Son of Jefferson … …

  • gr8news August 7, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks for all your hard work!
    IM, this case is like pandora’s box……..
    circles and circles of many crimes.
    People want media to go away because this case
    will probably expose allot of organized crime,
    suicides, more murders and adoptions IMO
    Keep on working!

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