Markus Bishop arrested on pot charges in Escambia County

Markus Bishop, a former pastor of Faith Christian Family Church in Panama City Beach, was arrested June 5, 2016, in Escambia County on charges of possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana.

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - UPDATE: June 15, 3:52 p.m.

More details are coming to light in the arrest of Markus Bishop, a Panama City Beach pastor.

According to an arrest report from the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, a deputy was waived down near the Casino Beach parking lot. The deputy says the citizen said a man was smoking marijuana in public at the Casino Beach Bar and Grill on Ft. Pickens Road.

Three deputies went to the bar and approached the outside stage through the bar. Investigators say they saw Bishop sitting on a lounge chair.

Escambia County Sheriff's Deputy Scott Rivkin wrote in his arrest report that "He (Bishop) was seen holding a baggy with what appeared to be marijuana in his hand. (He) placed the baggy inside of a green bag. As I got closer to Bishop, I observed several other bags of marijuana in the green bag which was open and clearly visible. As Bishop made eye contact with us, he attempted to grab the green bag with marijuana inside it. At this point, I was close enough to Bishop I was able to take hold of his arms and place him in handcuffs."

Rivkin also wrote in his arrest report there "were three Ziploc bags of marijuana which contained a quantity over 20 grams. In addition there was a syringe located inside the bag with and (sic) unknown residue, which will be submitted to the lab."

Bishop was arrested and posted a $2,500 bond on June 7, 2016. He's due back in court on June 24.


Markus Bishop, former pastor of Faith Christian Family Church in Panama City Beach, was recently arrested on charges of possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana.

According to court records in Escambia County, the arrest happened June 5, 2016. Few details about the arrest are known right now, but what is known is that Bishop posted a $2,500 bond and was out of jail by June 7. He's due back for an arraignment on June 24.

This isn't the first time Bishop has been arrested. Back in 2014, he was arrested on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, delivery of a controlled substance to a minor and battery.

According to arrest records from 2014, Bishop and the victim were at his home alone on September 11th. Bishop allegedly offered marijuana to the victim and suggested they go swimming. Police say the victim says she was extremely high but agreed.

Police say she put on her bathing suit and got in the hot tub with Bishop. She told police that Bishop kept getting close to her, making her uncomfortable. Police say when she got out the hot tub, Bishop recommended the pool.

The victim grabbed a noodle flotation device and claims Bishop took it away from her then placed his hands on her lower back to float her around the pool. The victim told police that's when Bishop started kissing around her stomach.

Police say the victim then got out of the pool to get away from Bishop and that Bishop followed her and kissed her on her mouth.

The charges were eventually dropped by prosecutors due to "insufficient evidence" according to Bay County Clerk of Court paperwork dated February 12, 2015.

Bishop has also made headlines for his long legal battle with the Property Appraiser's Office regarding the tax status on his home. Back in 2013, after nearly 9 years, the PAO gave up its legal battle with Bishop. Bishop had sued Property Appraiser's office saying his multi-million dollar home in The Preserve, a gated community in Panama City Beach, was a parsonage and therefore exempt from property taxes.

Bishop, who was the pastor of the now defunct Faith Christian Family Church, first sued the property appraiser's office in December 2004. While the legal battle was going on, Faith Christian went under and the bank foreclosed on the church and surrounding property.

The battle over the parsonage and property taxes continued, despite the church being defunct. A local circuit judge twice ruled in Bishop's favor.

Sowell insists Bishops' home is not truly used for religious purposes. But three different attorneys told Sowell continuing to pursue the issue would be a waste of tax payer money. He called it a bitter pill to swallow.

Powell had to pay Bishop's $2,500 in court costs. Bishop, in turn, dropped his claim that his Church was unconstitutionally singled out for taxation.

In 2015, Bishop's new church, The Life Center, also known as The Tabernacle, was holding parties catering to spring breakers. According to our story on this on March 10, 2015, promoters for the Tabernacle said it was a youth ministry group, but local law enforcement said it was a night club, and they intended to do whatever they can to stop it. The parties stopped two weeks after publicity from our story.

A website connected to the partying took a more cautious approach for Spring Break 2016, urging people not to use hashtags with PCB or any other easily-recognizable phrase in an effort to thwart law enforcement. The website urged people to text a number in the 404 area code and leave their Instagram or Twitter handle in order to get the one and only hashtag used for parties.