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Manatee High assistant coach charged with drug trafficking

BRADENTON -- Assistant baseball coach Frankie L. Sanders was arrested Monday morning on multiple charges of sale and trafficking of a controlled substance, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Sanders, 35, has worked at Manatee High School for more than two years. He was charged after detectives saw him in the parking lot of Blake Medical Center. Sanders was in a car with an unknown person and one of his 3-year-old sons during the drug transaction, authorities say.

Fifteen minutes after viewing the drug transaction, a search warrant was issued for Sanders’ residence.

Authorities said he turned over $20,000 in cash, 60 grams of cocaine, 92 grams of oxycodone tablets and 2 grams of Xanax. The narcotics bring a street value of $16,000, authorities say.

Detectives began investigating Sanders a year ago and conducting undercover buys. Numerous arrest warrants were secured for Sanders after he met with undercover detectives who purchased oxycodone and cocaine, authorities said.

Manatee County Schools Superintendent Tim McGonegal said Sanders has been suspended with pay. On Jan. 10, school board members will vote on whether or not the Manatee High assistant baseball coach will be suspended without pay.

McGonegal spoke with the high school’s baseball coach after Sanders was arrested.

“He is very disappointed,” McGonegal said. “Baseball and athletics in general tries to instill character education. This is very disheartening.”

Sanders is being held in the Manatee County Jail on $250,000 bond. Authorities say additional charges are forthcoming pending further investigation.

It is not known if Sanders sold drugs to minors or school students, authorities added.

Local law enforcement has seen an increase of prescription drug-related crimes this year reaching across a wide variety of age and socioeconomic groups.

As of November, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and Bradenton Police Department had made 478 arrests for crimes related to prescription drugs this year -- up from 330 arrests in 2009.

Detectives in narcotics units have conducted numerous undercover buys and worked with informants and pharmacies to make arrests.

Another Manatee High School employee was arrested on prescription drug related charges in May.

Bradenton Police say Christopher J. Potter, 26, pawned school electronics to feed his prescription drug addiction and threatened to attack school board employees resigned as a teacher at the school.

He was arrested on charges including possession of oxycodone, dealing in stolen property and grand theft. His case is still pending, according to court records.

-- Herald staff writer Beth Burger contributed to this story.