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4 Ybor City bar, nightclub employees arrested after selling drugs to undercover TPD officers

Operation Last Call occurred between July and September
empty 7th Avenue Ybor City curfew
Posted at 10:16 AM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 18:21:26-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Several Ybor City bar and nightclub employees were arrested after a two-month undercover drug-buy operation, according to the Tampa Police Department (TPD).

During "Operation Last Call," which occurred between July and September, undercover detectives conducted several drug purchases after being made aware that they were being sold at Ybor City bars and nightclubs.

“Some people may think that because these are nightlife establishments, bars and night clubs, that it’s okay to have drugs just flowing, but we want to make it very clear that it’s not okay," said Crystal Clark, a TPD spokesperson. "This is not the place or the city where you’re going to get away with selling drugs out in the open, and here’s a clear example of that.”

TPD said during Operation Last Call, "drugs, ranging from cocaine to Adderall," were bought at the Southern Nights club, White Lie bar, Coyote Ugly Saloon, and Tangra Nightclub.

"Each time, it was basically just employees who seemed like they’d done this over and over again," said Clark. "Detectives would ask them for the drugs, they’d go to their own belongings and get them, and from there, they’d find secretive ways to slip it through them, whether it was through shot glasses or in the receipt holders.”

After issuing six warrants, the following four suspects were arrested:

  • Brandon Brinson, 33, a bartender at Southern Nights
    • Arrested on Sept. 13
    • Two charges of delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a church due to the nightclub being near a church
  • Carlos Diaz, 33, who worked as a bartender at Tangra
    • Arrested on Sept. 14
    • One count of delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a church
  • Promise Toby, 30, who worked as a bartender at the White Lie bar
    • Arrested on Sept. 18
    • Three counts of delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a church and arrested on a failure to appear (operating an unregistered vehicle and driving with license suspended)
  • Ashley Poole, 32, a server at Coyote Ugly
    • Arrested on Sept. 20
    • Two counts of delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a church

"We will not tolerate individuals using businesses in our city as their playground for illegal activity," said Chief Mary O'Connor. "Ybor City is one of the most popular attractions in Tampa for both our residents and tens of thousands of visitors to our city every month. We will continue working to keep this area meant for fun as a safe place to visit."

TPD said officers expected to make at least two additional arrests.