Bay area has seen its share of bizarre drug busts

Unusual drug busts

Talk about lines at the ATM.

“It was out of service and the lady next to me said 'Oh, it doesn’t work,” said Lori Marsh, who tried to use a Bradenton ATM machine a couple of weeks ago to no avail.

It turns out that, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, a baggie of cocaine that had been deposited into the machine had broken it.

“That’s a new one,” said Rick Shaw with the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Shaw would know - he was a part of the biggest cocaine bust in Florida history in 1988, when 7300 pounds of powdered cocaine were confiscated.

“He had it secreted in 700 hollowed-out cedar boards that had been cut down and shipped from the Amazon rainforest,” Shaw recalled.

Local Tarpon Springs businessman Mike Tsalickis was arrested for the crime, purely by accident.

“We just got lucky and somebody happened to drill into one of the boards and found cocaine on the bit,” Shaw said.

That was the biggest, but not the strangest bust of Shaw’s long narcotics career

“We had a guy walking around town who had a prosthetic leg.  He hid crack cocaine in his prosthetic leg and he would take his leg off, dump the crack cocaine out and sell it to his customers,” Shaw said.

Which may be a tie to another dealer he busted

“He had no eye, he would stuff crack cocaine, small little baggies like three or four pieces, but he would stuff it down into his nasal cavity, stuff it down in there,” Shaw said. “I actually remember my partner and I pulling it out one time.”

Shaw says it’s a cat-and-mouse game. Usually, drug dealers are a step ahead.

“Most drugs, if you don’t have a prescription, are illegal and people don’t want to get caught with them so they have to think of ways to hide them and they come up with some creative ways to do that,” Shaw said.

Investigators with the Manatee County Sheriff’s office don’t know if the cocaine inside the ATM was an accident or not. They obtained the name on the bank account of the last deposit made just before the ATM was placed out of service but they can’t determine if the cocaine came from the last cash deposit or prior deposits.

No charges have been filed.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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