PORT CHARLOTTE- Charlotte County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit detectives arrested two people in connection with a cocaine trafficking deal that lead to the murder of a North Port man. A massive effort by detectives Monday resulted in the charge of Felony Murder Resulting from Trafficking in Cocaine for Mercedes Kay Annable Stiner, 28, 861 Acadia Rd., Venice, and Joseph Stanford Salmon, 30, 137 Flamingo Ave., Port Charlotte.
Joseph Lanard Bennett, 40, 6913 Babbit Ave., North Port, was shot about 11:40 p.m. Sunday night outside the Knights Inn motel, 4100 Tamiami Tr. He died Monday morning at Lee Memorial Hospital.
MCU detectives said the incident started on I-75 south of Ocala when Bennett asked Stiner to get him some Cocaine. She sent a text message to Salmon, aka “J-Roc” for $5,000 worth of Cocaine. Bennett, Stiner and another woman, Christina Diane Murray, 29, 7282 Perennial Rd., North Port, drove the Knights Inn, met Salmon and confirmed the drug deal. Bennett exited the vehicle and walked around the east end of the motel with Salmon. A gunshot was heard and both Stiner and Murray looked around the corner and saw Bennett lying face down on the ground with a gunshot wound to the chest. Bennett spit out suspected Crack Cocaine and Stiner put it into her purse. She also found a large amount of cash under Bennett and also put it in her purse.
Detectives located Stiner and Salmon Monday and brought them in for questioning. Both were arrested and transported to the Charlotte County Jail where they remain without bond. Salmon is a convicted felon and booked into the jail 13 times with 23 records. MCU detectives say the murder-drug case remains an open investigation and no other details will be released at this time. If anyone has information about illegal drug activity, please call the CCSO Narcotics Unit at 941-575-2157, or Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS (8477).