Sunday, January 21, 2018
Public safety

Pinellas Park firefighter-paramedic charged with sale of prescription drugs

Deputies on Saturday arrested a Pinellas Park firefighter-paramedic who they say was selling prescription drugs.

James A. Comer, 38, of Largo was charged with 16 separate counts, which include sale, delivery and possession of oxycontin, morphine, alprazolam, oxycodone and hydromorphone.

He was taken to the Pinellas County Jail and held on $200,000 bail.

Detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office learned Friday that Comer was selling drugs, authorities said, and they made an undercover purchase later that day.

They arrested Comer on Saturday around noon in the parking lot of Northside Hospital, where he works part time as an emergency room nurse.

A Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said Comer had more than 180 pills. How he obtained the drugs was still under investigation.

Comer was hired to work with the Pinellas Park Fire Department as a paramedic in September 2008, city spokesman Tim Caddell said. He also worked with the city's SWAT team.

"Apparently it's been going on for a while," Caddell said, adding that details were sparse. "We're still sorting it out."

Oxycontin, morphine, oxycodone and hydromorphone are all opiate medications normally prescribed to patients with intense pain. Alprazolam, most commonly marketed under the trade name Xanax, is an antianxiety pill that when abused causes feelings of euphoria.

Comer had no previous criminal record in Florida.

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