Florida

Passengers held hostage on alcohol and cocaine-fueled Florida boat trip, police say

Mark Bailey, 36, was drunk and chartering a boat with passengers aboard in Sarasota, police said. He was not letting passengers get back to shore and had fired his handgun.
Mark Bailey, 36, was drunk and chartering a boat with passengers aboard in Sarasota, police said. He was not letting passengers get back to shore and had fired his handgun. Sarasota County Sheriff's Office

A drunken, cocaine-fueled Sarasota charter ship captain held passengers hostage over the weekend, police said.

Police were called to a marina where they were looking for Mark Bailey, 36. Police say he was drunk and operating a charter a boat with passengers. Police said he was not taking passengers back to shore like he should been, and had fired a handgun.

While Sarasota police checked 2 Marina Plaza, the U.S. Coast Guard was also looking for the boat, according to a police report. Police eventually saw Bailey dock the boat at the marina and detained him.

When officers spoke to passengers, they got quite the tale.

The boat’s first mate said that Bailey had drank an unknown amount of beer while driving the boat.

Two passengers said they saw Bailey getting high on cocaine while he was drinking rum and beer. Another had said they saw him get into an argument with a passenger on the boat.

While in custody, Bailey had bloodshot eyes and was slurring his words, police said. He also refused to do a field sobriety exercise or a breath test.

Bailey was charged with boating under the influence and resisting officers without violence. He was released from jail later Sunday.

Sarasota police are handling the boating under the influence charge, while the Coast Guard is investigating possible crimes on the water, including the use of a handgun and refusal to return passengers.

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