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Former Martin County deputy arrested after bogus drug busts

Steven O'Leary faces multiple charges, bond is $1M
Posted: 6:03 AM, Jul 30, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-30 20:36:47-04
Deputy Steven O’Leary

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — A former Martin County deputy was arrested Monday after a six-month-long investigation found concerns in his drug arrests.

Steven O'Leary, 29, was taken into custody in Leon County, Florida, and now faces multiple charges.

In January, investigators said O'Leary claimed to find illegal drugs during traffic stops when he was employed as a deputy with the Martin County Sheriff's Office.

While on duty, O'Leary made three narcotics-related arrests in which the substances involved were not actually narcotics.

A Regional Crime Lab determined one of the substances was a powder commonly used to treat headaches, and another was a sand-based material containing no narcotics.

O’Leary had been with the Martin County Sheriff's Office since February 2018. He was fired from the Martin County Sheriff's Office in January when the State Attorney’s office found problems with three of O'Leary's cases.

After Monday's arrest, O'Leary is charged with multiple offenses including: official misconduct, false statements, tampering with evidence, false imprisonment, petit theft and battery.

Jail records show bond was set at $1 million.

In June, 20 people announced they were filing a lawsuit against the Martin County Sheriff's Office and O’Leary for the questionable drug arrests.

TCPalm newspapers reported that the lawsuit will bring claims of wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and other claims against the Martin County Sheriff's Office and former Deputy Steven O'Leary. An official notice of intent to sue was recently filed.

State prosecutors are looking into 80 of O'Leary's drug arrests over an 11-month period.

Attorney Lance Richard says the 20 people he represents for the pending lawsuit all had their charges dropped.

Portions of this article courtesy of the Associated Press