Police make drug arrest on the Key


Police make drug arrest on the Key


Date: December 23, 2013
by: Kurt Schultheis | Managing Editor


The Longboat Key Police Department initiated a drug bust operation last week on Longboat Key that resulted in the arrest of one man who was charged with possession of marijuana and intent to sell and distribute it.

Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming informed Town Manager Dave Bullock that more arrests are likely as a result of the operation.

In a press release distributed this weekend, Cumming said officers investigated the burglary of a unit at 3803 Gulf of Mexico Drive on Dec. 19.

Gage Lechner 18, and a 16-year-old male were both charged with burglary and criminal trespass at the scene. Their home addresses haven’t been released at this time. Later that evening, the investigating officer received information from a confidential source that Lechner left a backpack inside the condo that contained marijuana, according to the news release.

Acting on that information, officers entered the unit assisted by Sarasota Police K-9 Officer Mick McHale and his K-9 dog Nero. The dog sniffed drugs in a clothes dryer and the backpack was found inside the dryer. The backpack emitted a strong odor of marijuana and was seized and secured by the police department, according to the news release.

On Dec. 20, officers obtained a search warrant to open the backpack and discovered just under one pound of marijuana, scales and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.

Utilizing the confidential source, officers arranged a meeting between the source and Lechner. During this conversation, according to the news release, Lechner instructed the source to retrieve the backpack from the condo and deliver it to him at a predetermined location on Longboat Key after he was released from jail on bond.

Officers established a surveillance of the meeting location and waited for Lechner to arrive as arranged. At 4 p.m. on Dec. 20, officers observed Lechner arrive at the agreed upon location for the purpose of taking delivery of the backpack containing marijuana. Officers converged on Lechner while he sat in his car, and an arrest was made.

Lechner was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell or deliver, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Lechner was transferred to the Manatee County jail without incident.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at kschultheis@yourobserver.com.


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