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Five-time felon arrested in Manatee raid

MANATEE — The search for a weapon authorities say a five-time felon used to threaten two people led to the discovery of a baby living in a house filled with drugs, including cocaine within reach of the infant’s crib, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reports.

Five-time convicted felon Ennis Lane Jr., 36, had just been released from a year in prison April 1 for selling cocaine when he found himself behind bars again on an aggravated assault charge.

A man and woman said Lane had threatened them with a handgun in their home in the 600 block of 60th Avenue Drive East during a fight over money. Deputies arrested Lane on June 3 on an assault charge, but prosecutors wanted more evidence.

On June 22, prosecutors asked sheriff’s office deputies to search Lane’s home in the 100 block of 59th Avenue East to try to find the gun the victims said he used to threaten their lives.

A sheriff’s SWAT team entered Lane’s home Sunday and did not find the gun used in the assault, but they found a shotgun, drug paraphernalia, hundreds of prescription pills and crack cocaine within reach of a baby’s crib. A 1-year-old baby, whose mother and father lived in Lane’s house, is now in protective custody, according to reports.

Detectives arrested Lane, as well as the baby’s father, Jimmy McNear, 32, and mother, Amber Byard, 24, on sale of cocaine charges.

It is not the first time authorities have arrested Lane on drug charges.

Lane has been to prison five times since 1991 for robbery, battery on a law enforcement officer and three times for selling cocaine, according to Florida Department of Corrections records.

McNear has also been convicted in Manatee on weapons and drug charges, in 1996 and 2002, but did not receive prison time.

All three were taken to the Manatee County jail, where Lane and McNear were being held on $20,000 bond each, and Byard on $5,000 bond.

Deputies also called sheriff’s child protection investigators to the home, and detectives removed the child from the house because of the discovery of the cocaine and drug paraphernalia, according to reports.