Charlotte County deputies bust 90lb pot delivery

Posted at 6:45 PM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 18:50:46-04

The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office seized nearly 90 pounds of marijuana that was scheduled to be delivered to a Port Charlotte business on Monday.

Deputies received a tip from the California Highway Patrol, where the marijuana came from, that the pot was headed to Ace Drums on Tamiami Trail.

The shipment of marijuana was being held at a freight company in Lee County. Lee County Sheriff's deputies brought a K-9 to the company and determined it was marijuana inside the container.

The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office then did a controlled delivery of the pot to Ace Drums using an undercover officer. The package was transferred directly into another truck.

Detectives followed that truck, conducted a traffic stop, and arrested the driver.

The driver of the truck, 54-year-old Ralph Giunta, is the brother of the owner of Ace Drums.

When asked if the business had anything to do with the marijuana shipment, Lt. John Heck of the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office said it is still being investigated.

"It was shipped to their business, and the actual owner did receive the package slip, so we're still investigating that part to see what the actual tie is with the box being delivered," Lt. Heck said.

The owner of Ace Drums told Fox 4 he had no idea this was happening and that he and his business had nothing to do with it. He also said he doesn't think his brother knew what was happening, either.

"It's rather outrageous," Port Charlotte resident Charlotte Rosati said. "But it doesn't surprise me. There are a lot of pot heads in Port Charlotte."

"Very sad. I don't like it because I don't agree with it," Maria Milina of Port Charlotte said. "I'm hoping they're not really involved. I don't know if they are or not, but I don't like it."

Giunta is facing charges of trafficking marijuana in excess of 25 pounds, possession of marijuana with intent to cell, drug paraphernalia transportation, and committing a first degree felony with a weapon.