A manslaughter charge was upgraded to first degree murder this week for a man who gave drugs to a woman that overdosed and died.

Detectives with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office on Wed., May 1, upgraded the charge against Bernard Mullen. He remains in custody at the Sarasota County Jail awaiting trial.

Mullen was charged in June 2018 after detectives connected him with the death of a 58-year-old woman from intoxication of fentanyl.

“We will continue to exhaustively investigate these overdoses and put dealers behind bars every chance we get,” said Sheriff Tom Knight.

Detectives launched their investigation on July 27, 2017, after deputies responded to the overdose death. When deputies arrived at the victim’s home in the 4500 block of Barton Drive, they located several pieces of narcotics equipment including suspected heroin. Through surveillance video coupled with digital forensic investigation that revealed text messages on the victim’s cellphone, detectives identified Mullen as the suspect who supplied the drugs to the victim. Based on findings provided by the Medical Examiner’s Office, it was confirmed the victim died from intoxication of fentanyl.

Following a lengthy investigation, Mullen was arrested in July 2018 near Chicago. Detectives worked in partnership with the agency’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit and members of both the Florida and Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Forces to locate Mullen in Lake County, Illinois. He was extradited back to Sarasota County to face the charges.

The Venice Police Department reported the following arrests:

Luis Morales-Velez, 30, 4300 block of Tufts Ave., Fort Myers. Charge: driving while license suspended or revoked, third or subsequent offense. Bond: $5,000.

Joseph Sutton, 51, no address provided. Charges: tampering with evidence, marijuana possession, drug equipment possession. Bond: $2,500.

Steve Dilg, 57, 500 block of Kumquat St., Sarasota. Charge: contempt of court (failure to appear). Bond: $50.

Emiliano Morales, 66, 1000 block of Elaine St., Venice. Charge: probation violation. Bond: none.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office reported the following arrests:

Thomas Snell, 28, 400 block of Kenwood Ave., Nokomis. Charge: probation violation. Bond: none.

Adam Hubbard, 55, 100 block of Roberta Street, Venice. Charges: two counts of drug possession without a prescription, drug equipment use and/or possession, marijuana possession, 20 grams or less. Bond: $2,500.

Timothy Smith, 43, 100 block of Oak St., Osprey. Charge: grand theft. Bond: $1,500.

Jean Ridgeway, 46, 80 block of Cedar Street, Englewood. Charge: loitering or prowling. Bond: $120.

Tyler Shepard, 28, 300 block of Houre Boulevard, Venice. Charge: larceny, petit theft, second degree, third offense. Bond: $120.

Chard Wickersham, 31, 1300 block of Cypress Avenue, Venice. Charges: two counts of larceny, grand theft, less than $5,000. Bond: $3,000.

Tina Wilson, 42, 600 block of Tangerine St., Nokomis. Charges: two counts of fraud for using of another person’s ID without their permission. Bond: $3,000.

Lilla Schlaga, 28, Oberlin Road, Venice. Charge: possession of methamphetamine without a prescription, possession of narcotic equipment. Bond: $2,000.

Michael Delre, 28, E. Venice Ave., Venice. Charge: grand theft of a motor vehicle. Bond: $1,500.

Erika Rachelle Plumley, 28, 100 block of Englewood Heights Road, Englewood. Charge: violation of probation (original charge: petty theft, third conviction). Bond: none.

Jason Keith Sciulli, 35, 600 block of Suncrest Drive, Nokomis. Charge: unarmed burglary of an unoccupied dwelling. Bond: $7,500.

Criminal registration:

Carleen Hannah, 44, 200 block of Wexford Place, Venice.

Compiled by Greg Giles and Tom Harmening


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