PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - A Port Charlotte man and two inmates at the Charlotte County Jail were charged Friday with Conspiracy and Introduction of Contraband into the County Jail after detectives intercepted an attempt to drop off drugs.
Detectives received information that Amanda Renee Combs, 22, and Elizabeth Dawn Apple, 23, who were incarcerated at the Charlotte County Jail, were planning to have Combs’ boyfriend, Harold Edward Ross, 40, of 18084 Ackerman Avenue in Port Charlotte, assist in smuggling drugs into the jail for them.
During the investigation, detectives learned that Ross was going to bring four (4) oxycodone pills to the Sheriff’s Office Mid-County office at 3280 Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte at 11 am on Friday May 24. Ross was going to hide the pills in the public restroom where Apple, a trustee, would collect them while ‘cleaning’ the restroom.
On Friday, undercover detectives searched the public restroom to make sure there were no drugs there and then waited in the lobby of the Mid-County Office. At about 11 am, as planned, Ross entered the Mid-County Office and went to the window to speak with the clerk. Another man, who came in with Ross, went into the restroom with a small child. When the man and child exited the restroom a few minutes later, the undercover officer went into the restroom to check it but found no drugs hidden there.
Ross, who had been speaking with the clerk, saw the detective go into the restroom and, upon finishing with the clerk, started to leave the building. Detectives detained both Ross and the other man, who told them that he knew Ross was planning to drop off drugs. He, however, didn’t know Ross was planning to do it at that time. He said the only reason he came into the office was that his child needed to use the restroom.
When Ross was searched, detectives located four (4) oxycodone pills in his pocket in a pill bottle. The pills found on Ross was the same number and type as had been learned during the investigation.
Ross, Combs and Apple were all arrested and booked into the Charlotte County Jail. Ross was released on a $5,000 bond. Combs and Apple were being held at the jail.
Anyone with knowledge of illegal drug activity is asked to please call the CCSO Narcotics Unit at 941-575-2157, or Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS (8477).