PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit served a search warrant on Eppinger Drive in Port Charlotte, concluding a lengthy investigation with arresting a 44-year-old woman.
Michelle Lynn Barham was booked Thursday morning on multiple drug charges. The investigation was a partnership between the Sheriff’s Office and the North Port Police Department.
During a search of the residence, for which Barham is the sole occupant and owner, notepads and ledgers that appeared to document drug transactions and weights were located on a bedroom dresser. Nearby on the dresser was a mirror with a white powder on top, which later tested positive for cocaine. A large plastic bag containing 21.2 grams of cocaine was on a desk, surrounded by smaller baggies consistent with the packaging of drugs for sale. Loose prescription pills and marijuana were also observed in the same area, along with THC vaping oil.
$9,095 in U.S. currency was located inside a safe within the residence, some of which included “buy money” (money used to purchase narcotics by an undercover detective – the serial numbers are recorded for later identification) from the North Port Police Department. At the conclusion of the evidence collection, Michelle Barham was arrested and charged with the following:
-Trafficking in Cocaine
-Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell-Possession of a Controlled Substance (THC Oil)
-Possession of a Controlled Substance (Cannabis Edible)-Possession of a Controlled Substance (Alprazolam)
-Possession of a Controlled Substance (Lorazepam)-Possession of a Controlled Substance (MDMA)
-Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.In total, 258.6 grams of raw Marijuana, 81.7 grams of edible THC, 37.6 grams of Cocaine, 1.5 grams of Lorazepam, 6.4 grams of Alprazolam, 3 grams of MDMA, 19 THC Pens, and $10,511.00 in U.S. Currency was seized from the residence.
This is the 6th major drug bust CCSO has completed so far this year. Public information officer Katie Heck said it's part of the agency's mission to keep residents safe. "It's a big deal to us. By targeting drug dealers, we feel that it makes a positive impact in our community," she said "When we have deputies arrest a street level drug user, they really make an effort to talk to them and get them in touch with our narcotics detectives. They take a strong tole in investigating a stopping the source."
Their action does not stop at arrests. Heck also said they try to help people receiving drugs by referring them to programs for addiction recovery, such as the Sheriff's Recover Program. It allows people to bring their "use amount" of drugs to any Deputy or Sheriff's facility without fear of arrest. The CCSO will then assist the person in obtaining necessary treatment.
If you suspect drug activity in your area, contact the CCSO at (941) 639-2101.