Holmes Beach drug arrestee now in jail

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The law caught up with a man who absconded after his arrest and prosecution for possessing illegal drugs in Holmes Beach.

Paul Barnes, 47, now of Largo, was arrested Feb. 12 in Pinellas County and, as of Feb. 22, was being held without bond in Manatee County jail.’

Holmes Beach police initially arrested Barnes in June 2017 after a traffic stop in the 700 block of Manatee Avenue that led to the discovery of 0.6 grams of meth, 4.6 grams of marijuana, three glass pipes, a syringe, hypodermic needles and a digital scale.

Judge Andrew D. Owens Jr. ordered Barnes’ case transferred to drug court in October 2017.

A month later a Sarasota County court intervention program judge ordered a warrant for Barnes’ arrest, finding he’d absconded from the jurisdiction. The clerk issued a notice of a $1,700 bond forfeiture due to his failure to appear in court.

Drug courts and CIPs were formed in the 1980s to break the cycle between drugs and crime and reduce jail overcrowding.

Under the 12th Circuit program, which uses strict judicial monitoring with praise, sanctions, arrest warrants and jail time, defendants are required to waive speedy trial rights, enter a plea, appear for an intake assessment and attend mandatory court dates.

As of press time, there was no court date, but his case remains open.

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