Upper Level Sarasota Drug Dealer Charged In Federal Bust

Sarasota Police say Jamaican man arrested during bust was a big-time drug dealer in north Sarasota and had operations in the western U.S.

A federal drug bust on Myrtle Street this month turned up $11,400 in marijuana, $18,000 in cash plus weapons, according to the Sarasota Police Department, potentially removing one of the top drug dealers off Sarasota streets.

The Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Administration and Sarasota Police collaborated for an investigation that resulted in a search warrant and arrest at 918 Myrtle St., on Oct. 19, according to Sarasota Police.

O’Neil Marlon Martin, 33, of Jamaica, was taken into custody on various narcotics and weapons charges, according to police. Martin is being described by police as "a middle to upper level narcotics supplier to north Sarasota under the fictitious identity of David Lawrence Motta."

Federal agents became involved as Martin is being investigated for financial crimes and illegal narcotics activities in the western U.S., and for sending bulk currency to the western U.S. and Jamaica, according to police.

The following items were seized during the search, according to police:

  • 9.5 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $11,400
  • $18,000 cash 
  • Loaded handgun
  • Shotgun with serial number removed
  • Shipping boxes, scales and a small amount of cocaine  

Martin was charged with:

  • possession of marijuana with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver,
  • felony possession of marijuana (in excess of 20-grams) and
  • altered identification of a weapon,
  • serial numbers removed from a firearm.

On Oct. 21, Martin was placed on an administrative hold, meaning he was detained for at least 48 hours for charges to be proccessed due to immigration and customs violations, according to police. 

Martin was arrested in Sarasota in 2008 for possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and possession of a forged/fraudulent Florida driver’s license, according to police. He used the alias of Martin O’Neil at the time of the 2008 arrest, according to police.  

The date of this bust fell in the middle of another bust operation by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office called Operation: Felon Sweep.

The sheriff’s office conducted the agency-wide operation from Sept. 28 to Oct. 21, which resulted in 236 felony arrests, 91 probable cause arrests and the service of an additional 152 felony warrants.

“We are proud to announce these results in conjunction with this statewide initiative, but this is work that we do each and every day,” said Sheriff Tom Knight in a statement. “Sarasota County is fortunate that there is little violent crime here, but it is important to make sure citizens see these numbers and understand that our constant focus is on keeping them safe.”

Some of the offenders arrested during the felon sweep included child abusers, sex offenders and others wanted for domestic violence and drug-related crimes, according to the sheriff's office.


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