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Former Lee County Commissioner Brian Bigelow during first appearance following a drug arrest Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 / Dennis Culver/news-press.com
Brian Bigelow / Lee County Sheriff's Office
Markis Avila. Police say Avila was in the car with Bigelow at the time of his arrest. He was also charged with possession of cocaine and loitering. / Lee County Sheriff's Office.

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Former Lee County Commissioner Brian Bigelow has been released from custody without having to post the $12,000 bond through a county pretrial release program.

He was arrested by Fort Myers police on charges of cocaine possession and loitering.


12:16 p.m. update

Bond for all of Brian Bigelow's drug charges has been set at $12,000.

He had a lawyer present in the courtroom, but he declined to comment on the case.

During his first appearance, Bigelow was wearing a jumpsuit used by the Lee County Jail for high risk inmates.

The sheriff’s office said this type of jumpsuit is usually used with inmates for medical purposes.

9:17 a.m. update

Fort Myers police say Brian Bigelow was charged with drug possession early this morning after they found him with more than 2 grams of cocaine.

Police said they were patrolling a “high crime area” near 1015 Marsh Ave. in Fort Myers when they came across a silver Ford Focus parked between two buildings.

Police said the car was running, and the driver, later identified as Bigelow, was outside near the trunk.

Police said Bigelow saw them approaching, got back in his car and tried to back out of the parking lot.

Police met with Bigelow, who said he felt as though he was being discriminated against and requested a supervisor be brought to the scene, according to a Fort Myers Police Department report.

Police said Bigelow appeared to be extremely nervous, was sweating and having difficulty speaking.

Police called a K9 unit to the scene. The K9 searched the car and notified police of a possible narcotic.

Police found a white powdery substance in a small bag under the passenger seat. The substance later tested positive for cocaine.

Police said they searched Bigelow and found 10 small plastic baggies containing a white powdery substance investigators also believed to be cocaine. Police also found a small green straw with white powdery residue in Bigelow’s pocket.

The bags found contained about 2.15 grams of cocaine, according to police.

Bigelow was subsequently arrested on drug charges.

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Police also charged Markis Avila, 22, who was in the car with Bigelow at the time of his arrest, with possession of cocaine and loitering.

He has since been released.

6:16 a.m. update

Former Lee County Commissioner Brian Bigelow has been arrested on drug possession charges, according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office Web site.

Bigelow, who served for six years as District 2 commissioner until Nov. 20, was arrested by Fort Myers police around 3:08 a.m. this morning on a felony charge of cocaine possession and two misdemeanor counts of drug possession. He was also charged with loitering.

Bigelow left his commission seat to run for Clerk of Court but was defeated in the primary by Linda Doggett.

He is being held at the Lee County jail.

Bigelow was recently involved in the drug-related arrest of a 19-year-old man.

David Henley was arrested while driving Bigelow's rental car during what the Lee County Sheriff's Office called an apparent drug deal. Bigelow was in the passenger's seat.

The report claims Bigelow and Henley visited a drug house before getting pulled over, and possibly conducted a drug deal, which Bigelow denied.

Bigelow was cited for allowing an unlicensed driver behind the wheel. He could face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine if found guilty of the second-degree misdemeanor. Bigelow filed a not guilty plea at his first court appearance, scheduled for Jan. 25.

Henley could have faced up to six years in prison but decided to enter a pre-trial diversion program to avoid prison time.

This is a developing story. Check back with news-press.com for updates.

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