A St. Petersburg man is facing felony drug charges after deputies say he sold them a substance purported to be cocaine, but wasn’t.
Pinellas County deputies say Tomas L. Phillips offered to sell an undercover officer what he claimed was 19 grams of cocaine in January. The officer allegedly tendered Phillips $600 for the deal, obtaining a white, powdery substance in return.
Investigators say the undercover officer returned the substance to the evidence team, who subsequently tested it to confirm it as being as advertised by Phillips. However, per the lab, the substance Phillips allegedly sold the undercover officer was, in fact, not a controlled substance.
Despite the substance’s innocuous nature, the sale of a fake controlled substance is against Florida law, and Phillips was charged with sale of a counterfeit substance last Monday.
Though the sale was conducted in January, a sheriff’s office spokesperson said that arrests are often delayed by several months in an effort at concealing undercover officers’ identities.
Phillips was booked into the Pinellas County Jail last week on the above-mentioned charge and was released after posting a $2,500 bond. He was previously arrested in June on charges of possession and sale of cocaine, battery, and criminal mischief.