City worker jailed on cocaine charge

By Times Staff Writer
Published December 5, 2007


A city wastewater employee was arrested after he delivered cocaine to an undercover officer, police say. Tomenual Lathelton Banks, 37, of 5109 N 20th St. was arrested on Monday. Officers charged him with trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to sell. He remained at the Orient Road jail Tuesday. A judge set his bail at $49,500. An arrest report said Banks delivered about 1.4 ounces of cocaine to an undercover Tampa police officer for $1,300. Banks agreed to a search of his home, where police said they found another 0.7 ounces of cocaine, a digital scale, cutting agents and baggies, which are consistent with narcotics distribution. Jail records list Banks, also known as "Spunky," as a planner/scheduler with the city of Tampa.

3rd man arrested in murder case

A third suspect has been arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing of 43-year-old Kenny Love Washington, whose body was discovered in an Ybor City building on Oct. 12. Lamar Coffey, 24, was booked in Hillsborough County on Monday after being held at a Charleston, S.C., detention center on first-degree murder and robbery charges. Police have been looking for Coffey since arresting Devon Lavelle Batiste, 26, who was charged with first-degree murder and attempted robbery on Oct. 24. Another suspect, 20-year-old Rahim Alirabah Ra, was arrested on grand theft and other charges one week after Washington's death, and has also been charged with first-degree murder and robbery in connection to the case. Tampa police Cpl. Jared Douds could not elaborate on the connection.


Video shows suspect in 10 arson fires

Police released surveillance video Tuesday that they believe shows the person wanted in connection with at least 10 fires over two days last month. The video shows the man and his vehicle in an alley behind a hair salon and spa set on fire at 6400 First Ave. N. The vehicle is a white or gray minivan, possibly a Chevrolet Lumina APV, driving back and forth in the alley and then backing up to the business. A white man leaves the minivan with something in his hand. The minivan leaves the scene and a few minutes later, flames erupt from the building. The 10 fires were set Nov. 11 and 12 and caused about $145,000 in damage to cars, buildings, fences and trash bins, according to St. Petersburg Fire Rescue. Investigators are asking anyone with information to call police at (727) 893-7780.


Woman, 86, dies in crash on SR 54

An 86-year-old woman died Tuesday morning in a crash on State Road 54. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Mary Bartow of New Port Richey pulled her 1996 Chrysler sedan out of the Winn-Dixie parking lot east of Madison Street about 11 a.m. She was hit by a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe driven by 23-year-old Christina Phettepalace of Port Richey, who was heading west on SR 54. The front of the Tahoe hit Bartow's driver's side, and she died on the scene. Phettepalace had minor injuries and did not need treatment. Both women were wearing seat belts, the Highway Patrol said. The investigation was continuing.