$250K marijuana bust at Sarasota airport - WRBL

$250K marijuana bust at Sarasota airport

Posted: Updated:
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Manatee county deputies found a huge stash of drugs inside suitcases at a Sarasota airport.

Two men stuffed 65 pounds of marijuana into those suitcases and flew from California to Sarasota.

And deputies were waiting in the terminal when they arrived.

Manatee county deputies got a tip of an illegal operation going on in the skies.

They learned that a Bradenton man, 25-year-old Brett Mattson, had gone to California and met up with 35-year-old Shirden Coe.

On Saturday, the men flew a Delta flight into Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, each with two checked bags.

Before the luggage hit the turnstile, K9 drug sniffing dogs identified that the bags were contained drugs and the two men were confronted in the baggage claim.

What deputies found inside those four suitcases was pretty shocking. Tucked among clothes was around 65 pounds of marijuana, a grand total of about a quarter million dollars.

Manatee County Sheriff’s spokesman Dave Bristow said, "When you're dealing with amounts of marijuana, this is substantial."

Bristow says the men were crafty.

"They basically cut out the inside of books, and put the marijuana inside the books, put the marijuana in the middle of the suitcase and walked on through,” said Bristow. “Basically your bag limit is 50 pounds and you go over that limit, and if you go over that, you might draw attention. But they were all under the 50 pounds.”

The sheriff's office collaborated with the airport police in this operation.

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport VP/CFO Martin Lang said, "This is the biggest, the only one of any size that I can remember."

But there are a lot of unanswered questions in this whole operation. Officials could not comment on how the drugs were even allowed onto an airplane. Officials also could not say whether law enforcement in California was involved.

Bristow said, "This is an ongoing investigation so there's a lot of things we're not gonna talk about. We've probably talked about more than we should. We just can’t get into much about the investigation."

But regardless of how the men accomplished their task, they failed at their goal, and they were each charged with a felony.

We reached out to the Transportation Security Administration, but they have not responded at this time.

 
  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:41:35 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:48:49 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Land O' Lakes man: troopers saved my life

    Land O' Lakes man: troopers saved my life

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:41:51 GMT
    A Pasco County man credits two Florida Highway Patrol troopers with saving his life. A Pasco County man credits two Florida Highway Patrol troopers with saving his life.
    Chris Henry calls two Florida Highway Patrol Troopers heroes. He believes they saved his life.
    Chris Henry calls two Florida Highway Patrol Troopers heroes. He believes they saved his life.
  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:41:35 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • Gov. Scott begins campaign bus tour in Tampa Bay area

    Gov. Scott begins campaign bus tour in Tampa Bay area

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:55 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:55:10 GMT
    Gov. Rick Scott kicked off a statewide bus tour Monday, focusing on tax cuts and bashing his the record of his opponent - and predecessor."We've been cleaning up Charlie Crist's mess for three years," Scott said.Calling Crist a "slick politician and a smooth talker,"
    Gov. Rick Scott kicked off a statewide bus tour Monday, focusing on tax cuts and bashing his the record of his opponent - and predecessor."We've been cleaning up Charlie Crist's mess for three years," Scott said.Calling Crist a "slick politician and a smooth talker,"
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.