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Date of Issue: April 06, 2006

Drug sting nets three suspects in Bradenton Beach

At approximately 10 p.m. Thursday, March 29, Bradenton Beach police arrested Travis White, 21, Shawn Watkins, 24, and a juvenile all from Bradenton, for selling cocaine to an undercover officer.

Based on prior information, the police officer called the suspects from a pay phone at the Circle K at 100 Gulf Drive N., and spoke to White. He arranged to purchase $100 worth of "crack" cocaine, which White agreed to deliver.

The suspects arrived at the Circle K approximately 20 minutes later, backing into a parking spot. The undercover officer approached the vehicle and spoke to Watkins, who reportedly produced a clear plastic bag containing several pieces of cocaine. The officer handed him $100 in premarked bills, which Watkins handed to the juvenile to count.

In return, the officer was given 11 pieces of cocaine and the suspect allegedly still had approximately 15 pieces remaining in his bag. At this time, the officer signaled to awaiting officers to move in.

Bradenton Beach Detective Lenard Diaz attempted to block the vehicle, but it sped off towards First Street North, where two police vehicles were already staged.

The police units were clearly marked and had their emergency lights on, but instead of yielding the suspects drove around the first police car. In an attempt to get away, they lost control and crashed head-on into the second police vehicle. There was minimal damage to both cars and no one was hurt.

The suspects were taken out of the vehicle at gunpoint, handcuffed and searched. Watkins had the premarked bills in hand in addition to more cash in his pocket that was seized as drug money.

Despite having made comments to the undercover officer during the sale, White told the arresting officer he had no knowledge of the incident and claimed to have been sleeping until the crash.

The bag with the remaining pieces of cocaine that the undercover officer reportedly saw in Watkins’ possession after the sale was not found.

According to Diaz, all three suspects conspired to and were actively involved in the delivery and sale of cocaine, and all three were charged with the sale.