Welfare Check on Individual Sleeping in Vehicle Leads to Drug Trafficking Arrest

Posted: May 13, 2022

On May 13, 2022, just before 4:30 a.m., officers conducted a welfare check on an individual that was found sleeping in their vehicle in the parking lot of Downtown Gatorz, located at 502 King Street. The individual, later identified as Jeremy Allen Jones of Port Charlotte, acted suspiciously and pulled out a large amount of cash tied in rubber bands from the center console when asked if he had identification.

Jones consented to a search of his vehicle. Officers located a gym bag in the backseat area of the vehicle behind the center console. When the bag was opened, an unknown powdery substance blew into an officer’s face. The officer was transported to the hospital for evaluation. Upon further inspection the bag was found to contain more than 497 grams of methamphetamine and 133 grams of crack cocaine packaged in individual bags for resale. In addition, the bag contained more than 65 grams of marijuana, four hydrocodone pills, an unknown brown powdery substance, an unknown multicolored substance, digital scales, cellphones, and small plastic bags. During a search of the rest of the vehicle officers located more than $7,600 in cash in small bills packaged and separated by denomination in rubber bands.

The officer was not injured during the incident and was released from the hospital after observation. Jones was placed under arrest, transported to the Charlotte County Jail, and charged with Trafficking Methamphetamine, Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell, Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. The unknown substances will be sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab for analysis.

Five Arrested for Fentanyl After Search Warrant

Posted: May 3, 2022

After a several weeks long investigation, the Punta Gorda Police Department, with the assistance of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit, executed a search warrant on the home located at 7541 Coco Plum in Punta Gorda. During the search warrant, more than seven grams of fentanyl was located throughout the home.

Seven grams of fentanyl located in the home.

Five individuals, Scott Fraser Baer, Jr. of Punta Gorda, Jamie Erin Michael of Fort Myers, Scott Anthony Starkey of Sarasota, Katie Rose Buongiorno of Port Charlotte, and Sean McHugh Baer of Punta Gorda were arrested and charged with Possession of Fentanyl and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Scott Baer was also charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance for other illegal drugs found in his possession. All individuals were booked into the Charlotte County Jail.

UPDATE: It was discovered that Jamie Erin Michael had originally provided officers with her sister’s name and identification. Once at the jail it was discovered that she had a warrant for her arrest for Violation of Probation regarding a DUI charge. She was charged on the warrant and an additional charge of Providing False ID to a Law Enforcement Officer.

Beware of Anti-virus Software Scams

Posted: February 22, 2022

The Punta Gorda Police Department has been receiving multiple reports of an anti-virus scam email that has been circulating recently. In this scam, the victim receives an email stating that their anti-virus software is scheduled to automatically renew and that the victim’s credit card will be charged for the renewal (typically $500.00). The email then states that if the victim does not wish to renew the software they should call a listed phone number. When victims call the number an individual posing as a software employee talks them into providing access to their computer. Once the scammer has access to the computer they find personal information on bank, investment, or credit card accounts that they use to steal money from the victim.

If you receive an email like this, please delete it. If you are an established customer of an anti-virus software company and are unsure if the email is legitimate, please go to your software company’s website and use the information found there to contact them to confirm. Never click on any link or call any telephone number you receive in an unsolicited email.

Motorcycle Crash Fatality in Punta Gorda

Posted: February 16, 2022

On February 15, 2022 at approximately 6:45 p.m. officers responded to the intersection of Tamiami Trail North (US-41 North) and West Retta Esplanade in reference to a traffic crash between a pickup truck and a motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle, 29 year old Austyn Marquis Richards of Port Charlotte, was transported to Shorepoint Health Punta Gorda where he was pronounced deceased. There were no other injuries reported.

The crash is still under investigation by Traffic Homicide Investigators and further details are unavailable at this time.

Suspect in Celtic Ray Shooting in Police Custody

Posted: February 2, 2022

The suspect in the Celtic Ray shooting that occurred on January 21, 2022, 28 year old Carlos Colon-Parrilla of Fort Myers, was taken into custody yesterday by the New Britain Police Department after turning himself in in New Britain, Connecticut.

On January 21, 2022, just before midnight, witnesses state that Colon-Parrilla was asked to leave the Celtic Ray Public House, located at 145 East Marion Avenue, after causing a disturbance. Colon-Parrilla left the establishment and got into his vehicle. Witnesses stated they saw Colon-Parrilla firing a weapon described as an AR-15 style rifle into the air from his vehicle and then toward the building where patrons were. Witnesses stated they continued to hear gunshots as Colon-Parrilla was driving over the northbound bridge into Port Charlotte.

There were no injuries reported. There is no indication that there is any further threat to the public or that this incident is tied to other criminal or gang related activity. Colon-Parrilla is being charged with Discharging a Firearm in Public from a Vehicle with 1000 feet of a Person and two counts of Shooting into an Occupied/Unoccupied Building. He will be held awaiting extradition back to Charlotte County.

Suspect Identified in Celtic Ray Shooting

Posted: January 24, 2022

On January 21, 2022, at approximately 11:47 p.m. a customer was asked to leave the Celtic Ray Public House, located at 145 East Marion Avenue, after causing a disturbance. The individual left the establishment and got into his vehicle. He exited the parking lot with his vehicle lights off and turned north on Nesbit Street and then west on East Marion Avenue firing a weapon that witnesses described as a dark in color AR-15 style rifle into the air. As he continued westbound on East Marion Avenue he fired toward the open Celtic Ray Public House striking the brick veneer of the building below the dining area window and a separate office space next door. Witnesses say he fired additional shots as he turned north onto Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) and that they heard more shots being fired as he drove over the northbound bridge into Port Charlotte. There were no injuries reported. It is believed that this was an isolated incident and the suspect acted in retaliation for being forced to leave the bar. There is no indication that there is any further threat to the public or that this incident is tied to other criminal or gang related activity.

The suspect has been identified by detectives as 28 year old Carlos Colon-Parrilla, who has addresses listed in both Lakeland, Florida and Fort Myers, Florida. It is believed that Colon-Parrilla fled the area. An arrest warrant has been issued for Colon-Parrilla for Discharging a Firearm in Public from a Vehicle with 1000 feet of a Person and two counts of Shooting into an Occupied/Unoccupied Building.

If you have any information about this case or information about the whereabouts of Carlos Colon-Parrilla, please contact Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-780-TIPS or by using the P3 Tips mobile app. You can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward for information leading to an arrest. If you see Colon-Parrilla call 911. Do not approach him as he is considered armed and dangerous.

Punta Gorda Police and ABT Team Up for Underage Alcoholic Beverage Sales Enforcement Sweep

Posted: November 22, 2021

Punta Gorda Police Detectives and State Investigators from the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) Bureau of Law Enforcement teamed up on November 18, 2021 for an enforcement sweep in the City of Punta Gorda targeting the sales of alcoholic beverages to minors. The operation included compliance checks at eight local commercial establishments in the City of Punta Gorda licensed to sell alcoholic beverages. Seven of the eight establishments that were open for business were found to be in compliance, and one establishment was out of compliance.

Florida ABT & Punta Gorda Police

The commercial establishments that were found to be in compliance and did NOT sell alcohol to a minor were:

  • Circle K/Shell (3035 Tamiami Trail)
  • PGI Liquor (615 Cross Street)
  • Circle K/Mobil (3949 Tamiami Trail)
  • Dollar General (1300 Tamiami Trail)
  • CVS (1949 Tamiami Trail)
  • Publix (2310 Tamiami Trail)
  • 7-Eleven (3139 Tamiami Trail)

The commercial establishment that was found NOT to be in compliance and DID sell alcohol to a minor was:

  • The Famous Corner of Punta Gorda (1002 Tamiami Trail)

This operation was the result of a continuing partnership between ABT and the Punta Gorda Police Department to curb the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco to minors. The Punta Gorda Police Department, along with Drug Free Charlotte County and ABT, will continue to work constructively with local retail establishments where violations occur to ensure that employees are educated regarding Florida law. Operations like this one will continue.

Chief Pam Davis urges all individuals to report the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco to law enforcement. Violations within the incorporated city limits of Punta Gorda can be reported to the Punta Gorda Police Department by calling 941-639-4111.

Suspect Arrested in Arson Investigation

Posted: November 5, 2021

On August 29, 2021, the Punta Gorda Police Department and the Punta Gorda Fire Department responded to the Park Hill community, located at 10101 Burnt Store Road, in reference to a home and vehicle fire. The resident was in the home asleep when the sound of the fire woke them and they were able to escape without injury. It was determined that the fire started with the resident’s vehicle, which had been parked in the carport. It was also determined that the fire was a result of arson.

After an extensive investigation that included assistance from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Bureau of Fire, Arson, and Explosives, Wayne Ellery Steier, of Midway Boulevard in Port Charlotte, was placed under arrest earlier today and charged with Arson of Dwelling or Structure Where People Present. Detectives are still looking for additional information on this case. If you have information, please contact the police department by calling the non-emergency number at 941-639-4111 and asking to speak with a detective during business hours.

Halloween Road Closures in Punta Gorda

Posted: October 18, 2021

On Sunday, October 31, 2021, thousands of trick-or-treaters from all over will descend on Punta Gorda’s Historic District to celebrate Halloween. This has been a long standing tradition and in order to ensure that everyone has a safe and happy Halloween night, the following roadways will be closed beginning at 5:00 p.m. until approximately 9:00 p.m. depending on the number of attendees:

West Marion Avenue: West Marion Avenue will be closed for vehicular traffic from Cross Street (US 41) to Shreve Street.

West Retta Esplanade: The east bound lane of West Retta Esplanade will be closed, but the west bound lane will remain open to allow traffic into Punta Gorda Isles.

Side Streets: Harvey Street, Durrance Street, Gill Street, Gilchrist Street, McGregor Street, Chasteen Street, Dolly Street, and Berry Street will be closed from West Retta Esplanade to West Olympia Avenue. Only residents with proof of residency will be allowed to drive on closed streets to return or leave their homes with the assistance of an officer for safety.

As always the police department will have plenty of officers and volunteers in the area to assist with traffic, provide security, and ensure the safety of everyone. The police department will also be handing out candy in front of City Hall! We hope that everyone has a very safe and very happy Halloween this year!

Pedestrian Fatality Crash in Punta Gorda

Posted: September 20, 2021

Officers responded this morning to the intersection of East Olympia Avenue and Cooper Street in reference to a vehicle crash involving a pedestrian. Sixty-four year old Mark Andrew Harvey of Port Charlotte was crossing Cooper Street when he was struck by a vehicle. Harvey was taken to the Emergency Room at Bayfront Health Punta Gorda and succumbed to his injuries only a short time later. This is still an ongoing investigation and no further information is available at this time.