Manatee sheriff's deputy implicated in steroid case fights termination

rdymond@bradenton.comOctober 1, 2013 

MANATEE -- A fourth Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputy reportedly involved with anabolic steroids has decided to fight to keep his job.

Robert Craig, who reportedly had a phone conversation in July during which he agreed to buy illegal steroids but never went through with it, will appear before an appeal board at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 9, the sheriff's office announced Monday.

Craig is being fired due to conduct unbecoming a law enforcement officer, according to sheriff's office records.

Two former deputies, Thomas John Frank, 45, and Christopher Tucker, 39, apparently bought illegal narcotics in August and were subsequently charged for purchasing anabolic steroids from a confidential informant working with the sheriff's office.

A third deputy, Thomas Bryon Peel Sr., was terminated Aug. 2 for conduct unbecoming but, like Craig, was not charged with a crime, records indicate.

While on duty July 31, Craig returned a phone call to an individual for the purpose of purchasing an illegal steroids, according to a report on a sheriff's office internal affairs investigation.

Craig didn't realize the person he was contacting was a

confidential informant and their conversation was being recorded.

During the call, Craig agreed to purchase two vials of testosterone propionate for $150 for himself and one vial of "Supertest" for $75 for a friend, the internal affairs investigation found.

Craig and the informant agreed to meet either Aug. 7 or Aug. 8, however, the transaction never took place because Craig canceled his order, the report states.

The discussion to commit a criminal act constitutes a "grave breach" of Manatee County Sheriff's Office general orders, according to the sheriff's office.

"We can't comment on Mr. Craig's case because of his upcoming hearing," Dave Bristow, a sheriff's office spokesman, said Monday.

"Two of these deputies have been arrested and one was terminated and the now the last one is fighting termination," Bristow said.

Craig's start date with the sheriff's office was in September 2009.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or through Twitter @RichardDymond.

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