CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. – On October 20, 2022, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) arrested 30-year-old John Dylan Gromling of Beverly Hills for first-degree felony murder as a result of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance (fentanyl) which resulted in the overdose death of 53-year-old Bruce William Payne of Inverness.
On August 15, 2022, the CCSO responded to a deceased person at a residence in Inverness, Florida. Upon arrival, deputies located the deceased, identified as Bruce Payne, in a shed on the property. Near his body, deputies located drug paraphernalia that tested positive for fentanyl, an extremely dangerous opioid.
“With this arrest, we demonstrate our commitment to the safety of Citrus County residents. We will continue to target drug dealers in an ongoing effort to make our community the safest in Florida,” said Sheriff Prendergast.
“Earlier this year Gov. Ron DeSantis gave law enforcement better tools to protect the communities they serve, by signing his bill into law that increased the penalties for those who illegally sell and distribute opioids in our state. Detective Slingerland and the members of CCSO’s Tactical Impact Unit exemplify how our office will continue to support the Governor’s initiative on combatting the opioid epidemic in Florida.”
Due to this being a potential fatal fentanyl overdose, detectives from the CCSO Tactical Impact Unit (TIU) responded to the scene and began an investigation. Through the investigation, TIU detectives, along with Detective Dan Slingerland of the Major Crimes Unit (MCU), were able to identify Gromling as the individual who provided Payne with the lethal dose of Fentanyl.
On September 15, 2022, the report from the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of Payne’s death as a combined drug toxicity of fentanyl and alcohol.
Based on the findings of the medical examiner, and the facts and evidence collected by members of TIU and Detective Slingerland, Gromling was arrested for murder by unlawful distribution of fentanyl and is being held without bond.
At the time of his arrest, Gromling was already in custody at the Citrus County Detention Facility for drug related charges.