Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Arrests

NEWS RELEASE #: 16-236

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office arrested two men after a traffic stop led deputies to the discovery of a loaded gun, meth, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.

Tactical Unit deputies were conducting surveillance on a known drug house in Nokomis on Tuesday around 3:00 p.m., when they observed two men suspiciously enter the home and leave an hour later, carrying a backpack. Deputies followed the duo and conducted a traffic stop near the intersection of Kilpatrick and Albee Farm roads. As authorities approached the vehicle, they immediately smelled the odor of burnt marijuana. The driver, Tommy Smith, DOB 08/13/77, consented to a search of the car where deputies located a loaded semi-automatic handgun, nearly 10 grams of methamphetamine, 2 grams of marijuana, a digital scale, and plastic baggies, inside the backpack. While searching passenger Christopher Lester, DOB 12/08/93, deputies discovered a syringe and two plastic baggies. Both men were taken into custody.

Smith, of 3265 Dante Drive, Sarasota, is charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Cannabis More than 20 Grams and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was released Tuesday on $3,500 bond. Smith has a history of Aggravated Assault, Carrying a Concealed Weapon and an array of drug charges. Lester, of 218 Falls of Venice Circle, Venice, is charged with Possession of Narcotics Equipment. He remains in custody on $500 bond. He has no prior arrests in Sarasota County. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending.
Tommy Smith_12282016 Christopher Lester_12282016