BRADENTON, Fla. - A former Manatee County Sheriff's deputy and a former Manatee County firefighter have pleaded guilty to federal charges.
Back in August, the Manatee County Sheriff's Officer released a press release announcing the arrest of two of their deputies. At that time they said the investigation was still ongoing and more arrest could be made. And now new information that another deputy is facing felony charges.
A statement from the US Attorney's Office says former deputy Thomas Peel pleaded guilty to One Count Information, charging him with possession with intent to distribute anabolic steroids. The statement went on to say Peel faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, up to $500,000 in fines, and two year’s supervised release. ABC 7 obtained the plea agreement and it included several other components.
"In this particular case and many times in drug cases, when you have one individual who has information that could lead to the conviction of other individuals, they can work with or participate in the prosecution of other people," said Attorney Jason Miller. Miller is not associated with the case but he was able to examine and breakdown the documents.
"He actually indicated to the confidential source that he had other customers. He had at least one other client, that's indicated in the plea agreement. That's what make it a little more serious than someone just selling steroids it’s now someone who is actually distributing steroids," added Miller
Peel's agreement was entered on October 30th. On the 31st former West Manatee Fireman Wayne Faulkner enter a similar plea agreement and is facing the same charges. But, Miller says the maximum penalty in both cases is unlikely.
"The court does take these cases seriously, so they're looking at probably a little bit of jail time. But ten years is extraordinarily unlikely," said Miller.
Neither the Manatee County Sheriff's office, the West Manatee Fire Department nor the DEA were willing to speak about the investigation.