Guilty Verdict in Airport Drug Case

A man who attempted to bring illegal drugs onto a flight out of Southwest Florida, was found guilty as charged today, following a two-day trial in Charlotte County. Edward John Carter, 49, of Omaha, Nebraska, was found guilty of Trafficking by Possession in Amphetamine – 28 grams or more but less than 200 grams, Possession of a Controlled Substance,
and Possession of Paraphernalia. The jury returned the guilty verdict this afternoon.

On January 10, 2020, the defendant was going through security at the Punta Gorda Airport, to board a flight. As his carry-on luggage went through security, a toothpaste tube was identified as being too large to be brought on the plane due to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations. The toothpaste tube, which had binder clips on it, was then put in a security bin to be disposed of. A torch lighter was also found in his luggage that was not allowed on the plane.

A TSA Supervisor who was watching the interaction, noticed the defendant was acting nervous and agitated as his luggage was looked at, so she picked up the toothpaste tube and immediately identified that it felt hard and not like toothpaste. She did a swipe test for explosive material and the toothpaste tube tested positive.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and responded to the scene. They secured the tube and opened it. Inside were two bags of fentanyl and 47 grams of methamphetamine. There were no explosives inside, but the meth can cause a false positive reading. Carter was then immediately taken into custody.

Assistant State Attorney Caitlin Sorenson and Assistant State Attorney Alexa Lipham prosecuted the case.

Samantha Syoen – Communications Director, State Attorney’s Office