Bondsman charged with taking weapons to Manatee jail

MANATEE -- A Manatee bondsman was arrested Monday on charges of carrying a weapon in the open and that he took guns onto the grounds of the Manatee County jail, according to the sheriff's office.

James Jean-Rene, 48, was arrested after an investigation revealed he was not not authorized by the state to carry weapons, including while working as a bondsman. Deputies had started the investigation last week after they responded to a disturbance and Jean-Rene, who was carrying a gun in a holster on his hip, arrived to take one of the people involved into custody on a bond revocation, according to a news release.

Deputies on Monday arrested Jean-Rene when they learned he was at the jail. During an interview, he admitted he had a shotgun, an AR-15 rifle and a handgun in his vehicle parked at the jail, despite signs at the entrance to the parking lot advising of state law governing the introduction of firearms onto jail property.

Jean-Rene faces three counts of introducing contraband into a jail and one count of carrying a weapon in the open. He was released from jail after posting bonds totaling $15,250, according to records.