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Drugs seen as root of slaying

Large amounts of drugs and weapons are found inside the victim's home.

By ABHI RAGHUNATHAN, Times Staff Writer
Published January 22, 2008


ST. PETERSBURG - A 21-year-old man who had recently been released from prison was shot and killed Sunday night in what police say was a drug-related incident, becoming the city's first homicide victim of the year.

Police say Mario Tomlinson was shot multiple times inside his home at 3521 21st Ave. S.

Tomlinson has a lengthy criminal record, and was released from prison in March 2006 after serving 15 months on charges such as fleeing officers, cocaine sale and cocaine possession.

Sgt. Mike Kovacsev, the head of the department's homicide unit, said large amounts of drugs and weapons were found inside Tomlinson's home.

He said police were still investigating the slaying Monday.

Family members could not be reached for comment. Police are still investigating.

Kovacsev said Tomlinson used to associate with drug dealers in front of the notorious Lemon house at 3427 17th Ave. S in Childs Park.

In November 2006, Eric Lemon was indicted on federal charges of cocaine trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.

Law enforcement authorities said Lemon was the leader of the largest illegal drug distribution ring in Childs Park.

Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at araghunathan@sptimes.com or 727 893-8472.

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Information line

Anyone with information on the case can call police at (727) 893-7164.