$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>>

  • Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:35:13 GMT
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-04-23 12:58:50 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • TPD homicide detective under federal criminal investigation

    TPD homicide detective under federal criminal investigation

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:55 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:55:30 GMT
    Tampa Police Officer Eric Houston, who is working at a crime scene in this file photo, is under federal investigation.Tampa Police Officer Eric Houston, who is working at a crime scene in this file photo, is under federal investigation.
    The feds are investigating one of Tampa Police Department's lead homicide detectives. Officer Eric Houston, who is one of the lead detectives in the Julie Schenecker murder investigation, is under federal criminal investigation. 
    The feds are investigating one of Tampa Police Department's lead homicide detectives. Officer Eric Houston, who is one of the lead detectives in the Julie Schenecker murder investigation, is under federal criminal investigation. 
  • NewsMore>>

  • 2 St. Pete women accused in violent road rage attack

    2 St. Pete women accused in violent road rage attack

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:19 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:19:02 GMT
    Amber Lynn Beckwith (Left) and Ariel Young (right) are accused in a violent road rage attack. Pinellas County Jail booking photoAmber Lynn Beckwith (Left) and Ariel Young (right) are accused in a violent road rage attack. Pinellas County Jail booking photo
    St. Petersburg Police say two women rammed into another woman's car, pulled her out of the car and attacked her in the middle of a street.
    St. Petersburg Police say two women rammed into another woman's car, pulled her out of the car and attacked her in the middle of a street.
  • 'Selfies' not welcome at USF graduation ceremony

    'Selfies' not welcome at USF graduation ceremony

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:15 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:15:22 GMT
    University of South Florida Student Affairs office announced Wednesday that students should refrain from taking selfies while on stage during the university's graduation ceremony this spring.
    University of South Florida Student Affairs office announced Wednesday that students should refrain from taking selfies while on stage during the university's graduation ceremony this spring.
  • Arcadia burned dog 'Hope' is 90% healed from burns

    Arcadia burned dog 'Hope' is 90% healed from burns

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:27 AM EDT2014-04-23 14:27:12 GMT
    Hope's burns are 90% healed. Hardee County Animal Rescue Facebook page photoHope's burns are 90% healed. Hardee County Animal Rescue Facebook page photo
    We have some good news to report about Hope, the little 1-year-old dog that won over the hearts of many after she was doused with kerosene and lit on fire.
    We have some good news to report about Hope, the little 1-year-old dog that won over the hearts of many after she was doused with kerosene and lit on fire.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-04-23 12:58:50 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Arcadia burned dog 'Hope' is 90% healed from burns

    Arcadia burned dog 'Hope' is 90% healed from burns

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:27 AM EDT2014-04-23 14:27:12 GMT
    Hope's burns are 90% healed. Hardee County Animal Rescue Facebook page photoHope's burns are 90% healed. Hardee County Animal Rescue Facebook page photo
    We have some good news to report about Hope, the little 1-year-old dog that won over the hearts of many after she was doused with kerosene and lit on fire.
    We have some good news to report about Hope, the little 1-year-old dog that won over the hearts of many after she was doused with kerosene and lit on fire.
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.