Seat Belt Violation Leads to Drug Trafficking Arrest

NEWS RELEASE #17-153 

Joseph Balcom    Recovered Drugs

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 69-year-old Sarasota man for drug trafficking after deputies recovered nearly 35 grams of the cocaine inside his vehicle.

Deputies first made contact with Joseph Balcom around 7:00 p.m., Monday, for a seatbelt violation in the 1900 block of Stickney Point Road in Sarasota. As deputies approached Balcom’s car, they smelled the distinct odor of marijuana and during a search of his vehicle, found more than 7 grams of marijuana in the backseat. In the side pocket of the driver’s door, deputies also located several envelopes marked with various numbers and letters, and each containing cocaine. Upon further search, a locked safe was discovered under the driver’s seat. Using a key on Balcom’s keyring, deputies opened the safe to find additional envelopes and cocaine. In total, 34.6 grams of cocaine, 7.3 grams of marijuana and more than $900 in cash was recovered.

Balcom, DOB 09/18/47, of 4411 Bee Ridge Road, Apt. #369, is charged with Trafficking in Cocaine, Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell and Possession of Narcotic Equipment. He was released Tuesday on $17,000 bond.