WINTER HAVEN — Polk County Sheriff's deputies working with a multiagency drug task force arrested an attorney and former Tampa Police Department officer and two other suspects on drug trafficking and other charges in connection with the attempted sale of about two pounds of cocaine in North Lakeland.
Robert Carr, 66, of Thonotosassa, faces felony charges of trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic cocaine and possession of a vehicle knowingly used to traffic cocaine. Carr served with Tampa Police for five years and is currently an attorney and owner of the Resolute Law Group.
Also arrested on Thursday were Brandon Byars, 37, of Tampa, on felony charges of trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic cocaine and possession of hydrocodone and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia; and Logan Sebring, 24, of Bayonet Point in Pasco County, on trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to traffic cocaine and misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and of drug paraphernalia.
“It doesn't matter what walk-of-life you come from. If you come into Polk County with the intent to sell drugs, you're likely going to end up staying in Polk County as our guest in the jail,” Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said in a Saturday news statement announcing the arrests. “It doesn't matter if you're an attorney, a former cop, or in this case both, we're going to lock you up.”
The statement gave the following account of the investigation and arrests:
Detectives with the Central Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force opened an investigation on Byars for drug trafficking. The task force is a partnership involving the Sheriff’s Office; the Bartow, Haines City, Lake Wales and Winter Haven police departments; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
An undercover detective arranged to meet Byars to purchase one to four kilos (roughly two to nine pounds) of cocaine at $25,000 a kilo. Byars told the detective he would be coming with his supplier, who would have to see the money first.
The task force set up surveillance at the agreed-upon North Lakeland location. Detectives observed Byars driving up in a Ford F-150 and Carr in his Kia Optima with Sebring as his passenger.
The undercover detective met all three men in a store parking lot, whereupon Sebring removed a backpack from the Kia and handed it to Byars, who gave it to the detective. All three were arrested at that point.
The substance inside the backpack tested positive for cocaine and weighed one kilo.
Detectives also found three hydrocodone pills on Byars, who has criminal record for providing alcohol to a minor in 2010 and 2013, according to the statement.
They also found a “cannabis cigar” on Sebring, whose criminal history includes charges for drug possession, probation violation, battery and failure to appear.
Carr has a criminal history including charges in 1986 for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Carr had represented Sebring in a criminal case.
Kevin Bouffard can be reached at email@example.com or at 863-401-6980.