A Bradenton man is facing multiple charges including possession of fetanyl after fleeing from detectives and tossing the lethal drug in the air in an attempt to get rid of evidence, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
Bobby Harper, 22, was arrested Thursday and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, aggravated battery on law enforcement officer, fleeing to elude, tampering with evidence, driving without a valid driver’s license, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest with violence. He was released from the Manatee County jail on Saturday on bonds totaling $22,620.
At about 3 p.m. Thursday, undercover detectives with the sheriff’s office spotted a gray Honda SUV speeding on 58th Avenue Drive East towards 5th Street East and then backing into a known drug house in the 300 block of 59th Avenue East, according to an arrest report. Detectives parked on both sides of the home and waited until the SUV pulled back out 16 minutes later.
Detectives began to follow the SUV and were able to determine that the driver — later identified as Harper —was not wearing his seat belt and rolled through a stop sign. Detectives attempted to make a traffic stop, but Harper began to speed up in an attempt to flee.
After it became obvious to detectives that Harper wasn’t planning on stopping and they lost him in traffic, they headed back toward the known drug house where they had seen the SUV pull into, the report states. On their way, detectives saw the SUV abruptly pull into the front yard of a home in the 5800 block of 5th Street East.
Harper got out of the SUV and began to walk quickly between two houses as detectives got out of their car. When they announced “sheriff’s office,” Harper began to run. As one of the detectives ran up within five feet of Harper, he saw Harper throw his right hand over his right shoulder and detected a white powder substance coming from Harper’s hand and disperse into a large cloud.
It was too late for the detective to stop himself from running through the cloud, but he was able to catch and arrest Harper.
After his arrest, the detective saw a brown powder on both Harper’s hands, so they bagged his hands until they were able to take samples of the substance. The samples were sent for testing out of concerns that the detective had run through either fentanyl or carfentanil.
While they awaited the results, Harper began to throw up a blue liquid and was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital to be treated. Detectives were also evaluated by paramedics, and the local fire department was called to the scene to decontaminate the detectives’ clothes and gear.
Once the samples were confirmed to contain fentanyl and Harper was released from the hospital, he was taken to the Manatee County jail.
Detectives also seized $1,080 Harper had in his pockets.
Harper’s prior arrests include violating probation for tampering with evidence and possession of cannabis convictions, armed robbery and theft.