Judge removes no-contact order against Port Manatee executive director

jdeleon@bradenton.comSeptember 27, 2013 

MANATEE -- A Manatee County judge granted Port Manatee Executive Director Carlos Buqueras' request to have contact with his wife after being arrested on a domestic battery charge earlier this month.

Buqueras was arrested Sept. 7 after an argument over household bills that deputies say turned physical, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

After his arrest on the first-degree misdemeanor charge, Buqueras was ordered by a judge to have no contact with his wife.

On Sept. 11 Buqueras' wife filed a request for withdrawal from prosecution, stating she wanted him to return home and that she did not fear him.

"I was on medications, had been drinking and now that my head is clear I realized he never even touched me," she wrote.

Carlos Buqueras' attorney, Gregory Hagopian, on Sept. 11 filed a motion requesting that the no-contact order be removed. He was in court Friday morning along with Buqueras.

Judge Robert Farrance granted the motion and ordered that Buqueras only have consensual contact with his wife, who was not present in the courtroom Friday.

After Buqueras' arrest, the Manatee County Port Authority decided to hold off on a decision on whether to take any action against the port's top official despite a policy that outlines how he could potentially lose his job.

Policy 5-702 (r) states port employees can be disciplined or dismissed for "any fraudulent, criminal or dishonest act(s) committed alone or in collusion with others, including but not limited to stealing, embezzlement, extortion, assault, battery or vandalism, whether committed on or off the job, and whether criminally prosecuted or not."

Buqueras is the third port employee Saturday to be arrested in recent months.

In July Robert Armstrong, former Port Manatee deputy executive director and chief financial officer, was charged with a second-degree felony for accessory after the fact after his son was arrested on theft charges.

His son was arrested earlier that month and charged with 24 counts of burglary, defrauding a pawn shop and dealing in stolen property in connection with thefts that included property from the port while he was an employee there.

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.

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