PUNTA GORDA, FL – Deputies observed a white Ford pickup traveling at a high rate of speed while on I-75. The vehicle was clocked traveling over 90 mph in a posted 70 mph zone. Deputies initiated a traffic stop at I-75 South just south of Duncan Road on Wednesdays, November 4, 2020.
Contact was made with the driver Joseph Bassett, 30, and front passenger Barbara Allen, 35, who are both residents of Fort Myers. Bassett was informed why he was stopped and was asked to produce his license and registration. Bassett was unable to produce the vehicle registration and while the deputies were next to the vehicle speaking with the occupants, a scale was observed on the front floorboard.
The scale was handed over to deputies who noticed it was covered in a residue which later tested positive for Methamphetamine. Bassett was notified he was receiving a traffic infraction for speeding and due to the scale being located, deputies asked to search the vehicle.
Bassett advised there was nothing illegal inside. However, during the search deputies located a small silver handgun behind the front passenger seat, accompanied by a used meth pipe. The firearm was easily accessible to both Allen and Bassett. Behind the driver’s seat, deputies located a small safe that contained a small baggie of Methamphetamine. Lying beside the safe was a baggie that contained a large amount of Heroin and additional bags of Methamphetamine. From within the bed of the truck, deputies located a Bolt Action 22 pistol.
As the investigation continued, deputies discovered that the firearm located in the backseat of the vehicle was reported stolen out of Cape Coral on May 6, 2020. Due to the rifle not having a serial number, deputies were unable to determine if it was stolen.
During the traffic stop, Bassett asked if he could smoke a cigarette. The cigarettes were on the tailgate of the truck and these were the same cigarettes that Bassett had when he exited the vehicle. Deputies retrieved the cigarette pack and noticed a small baggie with an off white / brown substance, inside the package. This substance tested positive for Fentanyl.
During the traffic stop, Barbara Allen was within the bed of the truck attempting to contain a large dog so it would not run into traffic. While in the bed of the truck, Barbara was observed reaching to her side where deputies then found a large amount of Methamphetamine (10.3 grams), and was directly beneath where Barbara was sitting. This baggie was not there prior to Barbara being in the bed of the truck.
At the time of his arrest, Joseph Bassett was in possession of a large amount of currency totaling over $2,000. Inside the vehicle, deputies also located four cell phones.
It was learned that Joseph Bassett was recently arrested out of Lee County for Trafficking in Fentanyl and other narcotics charges and Barbara Allen is a convicted felon. In total, 18.3 grams of Methamphetamine and 37.4 grams of Fentanyl was taken off the street during the traffic stop.
Allen was arrested and charged with trafficking in fentanyl four grams or more, trafficking amphetamine more than 14 grams, possession or use of drug paraphernalia, possession of firearm ammunition or weapon by Florida convicted felon and using a firearm while committing felony. Bassett was arrested and charged with trafficking in fentanyl four grams or more, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession or use of drug paraphernalia, and using a firearm while committing felony.
The dog on scene was given a sweater to keep warm and was picked up by a friend of Barbara Allen’s.
Anonymous tips about dealers or drug use in your area can be submitted online by visiting www.ccso.org or through the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office mobile app available on Apple and Android markets.