A man from Puerto Rico has been convicted of trafficking $35,000 worth of cocaine during a drug deal at Posner Park in Davenport in 2017.
Misael Garcia-Sterling, 24, faces up to 30 years in prison after jurors found him guilty of trafficking more than 400 grams of cocaine and resisting arrest . Jurors deliberated for 90 minutes before returning with the verdict.
Circuit Judge Larry Helms is scheduled to sentence Garcia-Sterling at 8:30 a.m. on March 5.
Assistant State Attorneys Michael Berkowitz and Eric Ross prosecuted the case.
The case began on July 31 when a co-defendant who lived in Texas and worked for an airline contacted Garcia-Sterling about setting up a drug deal. The next day, the man flew to Orlando, rented a car and drove to a hotel in Polk County to meet with Garcia-Sterling and an undercover detective posing as a drug dealer.
On Aug. 2, the three met in the undercover’s detective’s car at Posner Park where they discussed a deal of Garcia-Sterling selling a kilo of cocaine to the undercover detective for $35,000.
Garcia-Sterling pressed the undercover detective to show him the money before the deal was made, while the detective pushed Garcia-Sterling to show him the drugs. Finally, Garcia-Sterling called a second co-defendant, who arrived with the kilo of cocaine.
Eventually, Garcia-Sterling handed the undercover detective the cocaine, and the detective gave Garcia-Sterling $5,000. While Garcia-Sterling counted the money, law enforcement officials moved to make an arrest.
Garcia-Sterling ran toward a fence with the $5,000. Once he reached the fence, he tossed all the money into the air before he was arrested.
State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorneys Berkowitz and Ross and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for their work on the case.