The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office charged a convicted felon with several felonies after a series of undercover drug buys.

Detectives first contacted 49-year-old Vernell Peterson in late February at his home located at 3038 Church Avenue, to purchase narcotics. Peterson sold undercover detectives suspected heroin and more than a dozen morphine pills. Upon testing, the suspected heroin yielded a positive result for the presence of fentanyl. On a second occasion in early March, detectives once again met Peterson and purchased suspected heroin which also later tested positive for fentanyl. On Wednesday, with assistance from the Sarasota Police Department (SPD), a search warrant was executed on Peterson’s home where additional fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine was seized.

Peterson, a convicted felon with more than two dozen local prior arrests, was booked into the county correctional facility where he remains today without bond. Sheriff’s office detectives charged Peterson with two counts of Sale of Fentanyl within 1,000 Feet of a Church, a single count of Sale of Morphine within 1,000 Feet of a Church, and Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communication Device. Peterson also faces charges from SPD detectives including Trafficking in Fentanyl, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Methamphetamine, and Possession of Narcotic Equipment.