Tag Archives: Police

2 Bradenton women arrested for cocaine possession

Two Bradenton women were arrested for cocaine possession by Holmes Beach police following a traffic stop.

At 3:23 a.m. Dec. 28, 2019, officers observed a Toyota being driven at a high rate of speed. When the driver failed to stop at a four-way flashing signal at the intersection of Manatee Avenue West and Gulf Drive, officers initiated a traffic stop.

Holmes Beach Police Department officers reported an odor of marijuana emitted from the vehicle and there was a bag of marijuana on the console.

The driver, Joselin Soto, 20, of Bradenton, told police she had a medical marijuana card, but a check of the card by police showed it expired. Soto told police she did not renew it because of the holidays.

Officers informed Soto that medical marijuana must remain in its original packaging.

While speaking to officers, Soto reached for a backpack, which police took and placed on the hood of the car.

Police reported that the backpack contained a plastic bag with marijuana, burnt marijuana cigarettes, a hypodermic needle and an eyeglass case holding a white substance that field-tested positive for cocaine. The cocaine weighed 10.2 grams.

When officers told Soto her car was going to be towed, she allegedly said, “You are not searching my vehicle. You are not towing my car.”

Officers did search the vehicle and reported finding $160 in cash, a plastic bag containing a white powdery residue and a digital scale.

A passenger in Soto’s vehicle, Jazmine Garcia, 19, also was arrested. Her backpack contained two plastic bags with a green leafy substance, 1.3 grams of cocaine and a used hypodermic needle.

The green leafy substance was submitted for testing.

Both women were arrested for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Bond for each was set at $2,000 and they were given appearance dates of Jan. 24 at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

Soto also was cited for failure to obey a red flashing traffic signal.

Parrish man arrested in Holmes Beach for possession, sale of marijuana

A Parrish man was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell following a traffic stop by a Holmes Beach police officer.

HBPD received a license plate reader hit on a suspended license for a vehicle being driven by Jailyn Stewart, 20. He was driving in the 5300 block of Gulf Drive at 7:15 p.m. Dec. 27.

A traffic stop was initiated and the patrol police reported a strong odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle.

According to police, Stewart said he was in possession and handed the officer a jar containing marijuana.

Stewart and a passenger exited the car and police searched the vehicle, finding two large plastic bags filled with marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a digital scale. They also found $763 in Stewart’s pocket.

Stewart was charged with possession of cannabis of more than 20 grams with intent to sell. HBPD said the marijuana field-tested positive for cannabis and weighed about .57 pounds.

Stewart’s bond was set at $1,500 and he was given a first appearance date of Jan. 24.

Stewart was also issued a citation for driving with a suspended license and his car was towed.

The passenger was not arrested.

HBPD searches, returns juvenile home safe and sound

A missing juvenile was found safe in Holmes Beach after almost 11 hours.

The search Jan. 3 involved about 20 first-responders.

The boy’s sister had gone to the Holmes Beach Police Department Jan. 3 to report her sibling, who is autistic, missing. About 1 p.m. that day he had walked off a construction site on Portosueno Avenue in Bradenton’s Palma Sola Park, where he had gotten into trouble while assisting his father.

The boy was seen by a family member around 4:30 p.m. at the Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, and the family was notified and searched the beach.

A missing person report was filed at 10:30 p.m. and HBPD officers, with the assistance of Bradenton Beach Police Department officers and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies, searched the island. A description of the juvenile was sent to other law enforcement agencies, as well as local hospitals.

Manatee County Search and Rescue responded with 15 officers and multiple K-9s to canvas Anna Maria Island and west Bradenton, searching well into the night before calling off the search at 3:30 a.m.

Shortly after the search was called off, a Holmes Beach officer found the juvenile riding his bike on Manatee Avenue and he was returned to his family.

The age of the juvenile and his city of residence were not released by police.

Jacksonville man gets probation for DUI

A Jacksonville Beach man arrested in August 2019 for driving under the influence after leaving a Bradenton Beach bar was sentenced to a year of probation.

Lonson Becker, 32, was arrested Aug. 17 in the parking lot at 116 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, by a Manatee County sheriff’s deputy called to assist Bradenton Beach police.

Becker appeared Nov. 20, 2019, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, with his attorney Richard Eisenberg and pleaded no contest to the charge of driving under the influence.

As part of a Bridge Street patrol, BBPD Officer Eric Hill checked on The Lighthouse bar, located on the second level of the Hynds Commercial building at 119 Bridge St., and noticed Becker appeared intoxicated, with slurred speech and trouble standing.

A police report states Hill advised Becker to leave but not to drive and that Becker said he would call someone to drive him home.

Hill later observed Becker driving a vehicle at Bridge Street and Bay Drive. The driver ran a stop sign and traveled the wrong way around the traffic circle.

An MCSO deputy arrived, tested Becker for signs of impairment and made the DUI arrest.

Becker refused to provide breath samples on the scene and at the Manatee County jail, where he was booked.

Becker also was ticketed for running a stop sign and traveling the wrong way at the roundabout on Bay Drive. Those charges were dismissed.

Drug case gets tossed, but Bradenton man remains jailed for assault

David Nichols remains in jail on $150,000 bond following a November 2019 arrest for assault with a deadly weapon after dragging another man under his truck.

But he has one less legal issue to worry about as charges in a March 2019 drug and tampering case against him were dropped by the state attorney’s office due to an improper search of his vehicle.

According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reports, a deputy stopped Nichols for failing to stop at a stop sign March 27, 2019.

Nichols, 57, of Bradenton, and the passenger exited a pickup truck, and the deputy observed a “white rolled-up cigarette joint” on the passenger floorboard.

The deputy stated that, based on his training and experience, he “recognized it to be consistent with possible narcotics.” The deputy asked Nichols what it was and he replied it was a “rollie cigarette.”

The deputy told Nichols to break up the cigarette to show it was tobacco and Nichols responded by crumpling it.

In an arrest affidavit, the deputy said he recognized marijuana in the crumpled pieces. The substance tested positive for marijuana and Nichol’s reportedly told a deputy that it was “only a little marijuana.”

That testing and statement by Nichols precipitated a search of his vehicle and yielded 28.31 grams of methamphetamine, three marijuana cigarettes and five buprenorphine pills — a schedule 3 narcotic.

Nichols was charged with possession of a controlled substance, trafficking in amphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, tampering/destroying physical evidence and possession of cannabis not more than 20 grams.

On July 8, 2019, the first three charges were dropped.

At Nichols’ discovery deposition, the deputy stated he didn’t see or smell any marijuana or any other narcotics prior to the crumpled cigarette.

A Dec. 3, 2019, decline memo from the SAO stated, “In Carr v. State, 353 So.2d 958 (2nd DCA 1978), the 2nd District ruled a search on similar facts was improper.”

In that case, two suspected marijuana cigarettes inside a truck were seized, but the law enforcement officer could not actually see or smell marijuana because their ends were twisted shut.

“Given the above facts and circumstances, the state will nolle pros (not prosecute) the case” against Nichols.

The charges of possession of cannabis and tampering/destroying physical evidence were dropped.

Nichols is charged with aggravated battery and leaving the scene of a crash with bodily injury following a verbal altercation that turned violent the night of Nov. 18.

He stands accused of hitting and dragging 61-year-old Fred Gilliland underneath his vehicle for nearly a block.

Police reported that Gilliland sustained severe life-threatening injuries, including several open fractures and significant head trauma.

A verbal dispute ensued outside a residence between Gilliland and Nichols. As Gilliland left on foot, walking southbound on 101st Street West, police said Nichols struck him with his vehicle.

Gilliland is still being treated at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.

According to Gilliland’s longtime friend, James “Wyre” Lee, he remains hospitalized at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.

“He’s hanging in,” Lee said. “He’s in the burn unit, where he’s being treated for all the road rash. He goes in for debridements every day or two.”

Lee said that fundraisers are being planned to help support Gilliland.

Nichols is set for a Jan. 9 case management conference at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

AMI law enforcers report smooth transition to new year

Throngs of revelers flocked to Anna Maria Island on New Year’s Eve but, from a law enforcement perspective, the year-to-year transition Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 was smooth.

“There were no issues, thank goodness,” said Bradenton Beach Police Det. Sgt. Lenard Diaz.

Bradenton Beach saw a large crowd for a midnight fireworks display on the beach at the Beach House Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N.

Diaz said the traffic going over the Cortez Bridge was heavy before and after midnight.

“People realized it was going to take them a little longer to get here and then home,” he said.

BBPD added a few officers to handle the influx of people and traffic.

“We had a few officers on special detail at Beach House,” he said.

Diaz said the orderly behavior is typical for New Year’s Eve at the restaurant and up and down the beach.

“This really is just a nice family event,” he said.

He also noted the Island Monkey Bus and free trolley service probably kept some partiers from driving.

“Those forms of getting around the island can be a blessing for people who know they will be drinking and shouldn’t drive,” he said.

Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said the island’s largest city had no issues on New Year’s Eve.

“There were no arrests or issues — everyone behaved themselves,” he said.

Tokajer said the HBPD did not have additional officers on duty.

The chief did not estimate how many people crossed into the city on Manatee Avenue, where the HBPD has license tag cameras. He did note that for the large volume of visitors, he was pleased there were no law enforcement issues.

Island law enforcement sees lower crime rates in future

Island law enforcement officials anticipate a decline in crime rates will continue into 2020.

As 2019 came to a close, Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said crime rates in the city are at an all-time low, having begun a downward trend in 2014.

“Our goal is always to continue to keep Holmes Beach a safe place to reside, conduct business and visit by continuing our efforts to reduce crime through proactive, high visibility policing,”

Tokajer said that no new major equipment or staff additions are anticipated in 2020.

Bradenton Beach Police Detective Sgt. Lenard Diaz said the police department is mindful of challenges associated with seasonal visitors.

Diaz said the goal of making the area a safe place in 2020 for people will be accomplished by officers maintaining a visible patrol presence in the city, along with the addition of new equipment and the hiring of another officer.

“We are going to be using laser radar,” Diaz said. “We had been using Doppler radar, but with the laser beam we can hit a certain vehicle and drill down on speeders.”

Bradenton Beach officers also will be using new communications equipment in 2020.

“With these new radios, we will be able to communicate with all the departments in the area, which will be a huge help,” he said.

Diaz said that the department is in the process of hiring an additional officer.

“We been approved to hire another officer,” he said. “That process is going on now.”

Sgt. Mike Jones, head of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office-Anna Maria Substation, is leaving his post Jan. 5.

He said the crime rate in Anna Maria also has decreased in recent years.

Jones said crime there was down 27% in 2019 from 2018 and down 40% from 2017.

“Last year, with the red tide, there was a lower number of people,” Jones said. “This is not scientific, but an observation.”

Predicting lower crime numbers in 2020, he cited the MCSO’s pro-active patrolling and high visibility.

Sgt. Brett Getman will be heading up the Anna Maria Substation starting in January.

Cortez man charged with DUI

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Seth Frederick-Stephens, 23

A Cortez man was charged with driving under the influence after a Manatee County sheriff’s patrol deputy reportedly spotted him driving erratically.

Shortly after midnight on Dec. 21, the deputy reported he observed a truck driven by Seth Frederick-Stephens, 23, weaving within his lane and nearly hitting curbs on 75th Street in Bradenton.

According to reports, the man emitted a strong odor of alcohol and his eyes were red and glassy. As he stepped out of his truck to perform field sobriety testing, officers say he was swaying and that he needed help to keep from falling to the ground.

Frederick-Stephens reportedly refused to submit to field sobriety tests, saying he would “plead the fifth.”

He was transported by MCSO to the Manatee County jail and, according to the report, again refused a Breathalyzer test.

He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

His bond was set at $120 and he was given an appearance date of Jan. 23.

Charges downgraded for man accused of striking Cortez man with truck

A Bradenton man arrested for allegedly striking and dragging another man with a truck was charged with aggravated battery with great bodily harm and deadly weapon and leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury.

The charges against David Nichols in the alleged assault against Cortez worker Fred Gilliland were downgraded since November, when Nichols was arrested and accused of attempted murder.

Nichols, 56, of Bradenton, as of Dec. 23, was being held on $150,000 bond in the Manatee County jail.

According to an arrest affidavit, Nichols and Gilliland were in a “heated verbal argument” outside a residence in the 4600 block of 101st Street West on the mainland.

A witness attempted to quell the argument, leading to Gilliland, 61, walking away on 101st Street West toward 46th Avenue West.

The witness then went inside a home and heard tires squealing, the sound of an impact and Gilliland’s cries for help.

A call to 911 brought paramedics and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. An investigation determined that Gilliland was dragged about 284 feet and “sustained a multitude of life-threatening injuries which included the removal of his spleen, a lacerated liver, multiple rib fractures, collapsed left lung, right arm amputation and numerous facial sutures,” according to the arrest report.

Gilliland was taken to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, where his condition was unknown at press time Dec. 23.

Gilliland’s longtime friend and employer at Cortez Bait and Seafood in Cortez, James “Wyre” Lee, described Gilliland’s condition Dec. 13: “The last time I saw him he was sharp and he’s getting frustrated with being in the hospital. He’s got a strong will to live.”

Gilliland has received an outpouring of community support. As of Dec. 23, a GoFundMe page called Friends for Freddy had raised more than $6,000.

Nichols is represented by public defender Mark Adams, who was not available for comment Dec. 19.

Deputies make arrests for auto theft, possession

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A Holmes Beach man was arrested Dec. 12 for auto theft after a Manatee County Sheriff’s deputy saw him driving a vehicle in the 300 block of Cortez Road.

The vehicle, a 2019 Dodge Ram pickup with U-Haul markings, was reported stolen Dec. 7.

The driver, Kevin Remsnyder, 37, was charged with auto theft.

One passenger, Mary Yarbrough, 24, of Sarasota, was allegedly in possession of drugs, according to a law enforcement report.

Yarbrough was asked for identification and said she did not have any.

Deputies searched her purse and reported finding a plastic bag containing suspected marijuana, four pills and a plastic bag with white powder that tested positive as methamphetamine. The pills were identified as amphetamines.

Yarbrough was arrested for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. Her bond was set at $1,500 and she was given a court date of Jan. 3.

Remsynder’s bond was set at $1,500 and he was given a court appearance date of Jan. 3.

A third person in the vehicle was not charged.

The initial MCSO report did not indicate where the vehicle was stolen from.