$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>>

  • Mortgage nightmare for Plant City couple

    Mortgage nightmare for Plant City couple

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:57 AM EDT2014-04-16 11:57:42 GMT
    Karl and Vicktoria Hanson thought their foreclosure nightmare was long over. It may be just beginning.
    Karl and Vicktoria Hanson thought their foreclosure nightmare was long over. It may be just beginning.
  • Bradenton massage therapist banned from contact with women by state

    Bradenton massage therapist banned from contact with women by state

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-04-15 21:03:21 GMT
    The Florida Department of Health says it served licensed massage therapist Kevin Joseph Holmes, 60, with an emergency order Tuesday morning that bans him from working with female clients.The Florida Department of Health says it served licensed massage therapist Kevin Joseph Holmes, 60, with an emergency order Tuesday morning that bans him from working with female clients.
    The Florida Department of Health says it served licensed massage therapist Kevin Joseph Holmes, 60, with an emergency order Tuesday morning that bans him from working with female clients.The order says Holmes "unrestricted practice as a massage therapist with female clients constitutes an immediate serious danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the public
    The Florida Department of Health says it served licensed massage therapist Kevin Joseph Holmes, 60, with an emergency order Tuesday morning that bans him from working with female clients.The order says Holmes "unrestricted practice as a massage therapist with female clients constitutes an immediate serious danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the public
  • State takes emergency action against Bradenton massage therapist after 8 On Your Side investigation

    State takes emergency action against Bradenton massage therapist after 8 On Your Side investigation

    Monday, April 14 2014 7:09 PM EDT2014-04-14 23:09:06 GMT
    Kevin Holmes, massage therapistKevin Holmes, massage therapist
    According topolice records Kevin Holmes, age 60, toldinvestigators the client he gave a therapeutic massage to last month"was an attractive girl, plain and simple."It turns out she was also an off-duty detective, and Holmes said what he did to her was "absolutely inapproriate."
    According topolice records Kevin Holmes, age 60, toldinvestigators the client he gave a therapeutic massage to last month"was an attractive girl, plain and simple."It turns out she was also an off-duty detective, and Holmes said what he did to her was "absolutely inapproriate."
  • NewsMore>>

  • 3 protesters killed in attack on Ukrainian base

    3 protesters killed in attack on Ukrainian base

    Ukraine's interior minister says three pro-Russian militants have been killed and 13 wounded after Ukrainian troops repelled an attack on a National Guard base in the Black Sea port of Mariupol in the...
    The turmoil in Ukraine dominated the European landscape Thursday, as three protesters were killed in a clash in southern Ukraine, high-level talks were held in Geneva and Vladimir Putin weighed in on his neighbor's...
  • EXCLUSIVE: St. Pete mom accused of murdering her son talks

    EXCLUSIVE: St. Pete mom accused of murdering her son talks

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:10 AM EDT2014-04-17 12:10:06 GMT
    It's the jailhouse interview you need to see. A mother accused of stabbing her 4-year-old son to death speaks exclusively to News Channel 8's Melissa Beckman Thursday night at 6 p.m.
    It's the jailhouse interview you need to see. A mother accused of stabbing her 4-year-old son to death speaks exclusively to News Channel 8's Melissa Beckman Thursday night at 6 p.m.
  • Samples collected from oil slick not from plane

    Samples collected from oil slick not from plane

    A robotic submarine completed its first successful scan of the seabed Thursday in the hunt for the missing Malaysian plane, and investigators were analyzing the sub's data while also trying to identify the...
    Investigators were analyzing data collected by a robotic submarine that completed its first successful scan of the seabed Thursday in the hunt for the missing Malaysian plane, but say tests have ruled out that a nearby oil...
  • 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.