Search Warrant Yields Drugs and Weapons

News Release #: 17-104 - APRIL 24, 2017

Ben Townsend   Evan Fried
Ben Townsend                                                   Evan Fried

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested two Sarasota men Friday morning following several undercover drug buys and a residential search warrant.

Detectives began their investigation into Evan Fried, DOB 05/12/79, and Ben Townsend, DOB 06/02/61, in January, after Townsend accompanied Fried to sell hydromorphone to undercover detectives on three separate occasions. On Friday, Tactical Unit deputies conducted a traffic stop on both men and watched as Townsend tossed suspected drugs out the window. Fried and Townsend were both arrested and upon search of the roadway and car, detectives recovered hydromorphone, alprazolam and oxycodone. Following their arrests, detectives executed a search warrant on Townsend’s home where they recovered two pistols, dozens of rounds of ammunition, additional hydromorphone, oxycodone, morphine sulfate, alprazolam, and marijuana.

Townsend is a convicted felon who was sentenced to federal prison and has an extensive list of prior local arrests for crimes including Trafficking in Cocaine, Possession of a Weapon by a Felon, and Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Person. Detectives charged Townsend with three counts of Principle to Sale of Hydromorphone, Possession of Hydromorphone with Intent to Sell, Possession of Alprazolam with Intent to Sell, Possession of Oxycodone With intent to Sell, Tampering with Evidence, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon, Trafficking in Hydromorphone 14-28 grams, Possession of Alprazolam with Intent to Sell, Possession of Oxycodone with Intent to Sell, Possession of Morphine, and Possession of Cannabis less than 20 Grams. He was released Sunday on $92,500.

Fried, DOB 05/12/79, of 5314 Duncanwood Drive, has been arrested more than a dozen times in Sarasota County for crimes including Aggravated Battery, Burglary and Possession of Narcotic Equipment. He now faces three counts of Sale of Hydromorphone and was released Sunday on $22,500 bond. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending.