Acting mayor of Florida town arrested three weeks after predecessor

The acting mayor of a suburban Florida town who took office following the arrest of his predecessor has also been busted, authorities said.

Terance Hagen Rowe, 64, began serving as acting mayor of Port Richey — a Tampa suburb — after the Feb. 21 arrest of Mayor Dale Massad, who allegedly opened fire on an arresting deputy taking him into custody on accusations of practicing medicine without a license in his waterfront home.

Rowe was arrested Wednesday by agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement after authorities received a tip that Rowe was conspiring to interfere with an active criminal investigation.

Rowe, who could not be reached for comment early Thursday, is now facing charges of obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and use of a two-way communication device to facilitate the commission of a crime, according to the agency.

Rowe was taken into custody at the Pasco County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bond. He was no longer listed as in custody as of early Thursday, jail records show.

The office of Florida’s attorney general, Ashley Moody, will prosecute the case against Rowe.

Investigators said the allegations against Rowe are connected to aspects of Massad’s arrest, but they declined to go into detail, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

“It’s related, but it’s an offshoot,” Special Agent in Charge Mark Brutnell told the newspaper. “From information we received, [Rowe] was conspiring to inject himself into an active criminal investigation.”

Rowe praised Massad — who remains jailed without bail — during his first City Council meeting as acting mayor earlier this month, acknowledging that he wasn’t the “perfect model” but saying he had dedicated himself to the job.

“It’s unfortunate, it’s tragic and I will miss his counsel,” Rowe said.

Both Rowe and Massad — who were arrested just 20 days apart — are now at the center of “very active investigations” with “lots of moving pieces,” Brutnell told the Tampa Bay Times.

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