OKEEECHOBEE — While working a special detail at the Kaza Productions Mexican Rodeo on April 7 at the Okeechobee Agricultural Center, a member of the Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force walked into the men’s restroom and reportedly saw a Hispanic man standing inside a stall, facing the door of the stall and snorting what appeared to be cocaine powder.
The man, later identified as Silverio Baranda Chavez, 45, Clewiston, allegedly had a bag in his hand and white powder on both hands. As the officer watched to see what he was doing, a second man tried to warn him of the officer’s presence by telling him to stop.
The officer reported he told Chavez to stop what he was doing, at which point he saw Chavez throw the bag in the toilet before opening the door. Chavez was then arrested and the bag was collected from the toilet and field-tested for cocaine. The powder tested positive for cocaine, and two more bags were found in Chavez’ wallet. The first bag weighed 3.1 grams, and the other bags weighed 1.5 grams. All were turned in as evidence. Chavez was charged with possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence. His bond was set at $10,000.