Suspect arrested in murder of former Gulf High School basketball - WFLA News Channel 8

Suspect arrested in murder of former Gulf High School basketball player

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Thomas Lesher, 31, of New Port Richey is charged with second-dregree murder. Pasco Co. Jail booking photo Thomas Lesher, 31, of New Port Richey is charged with second-dregree murder. Pasco Co. Jail booking photo
Tony Rangel was the captain of the Gulf High School basketball team during his senior year. Photo courtesy Gulf High School Tony Rangel was the captain of the Gulf High School basketball team during his senior year. Photo courtesy Gulf High School
NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) -

Pasco County Sheriff's deputies say a fight about drugs led to the deadly stabbing of a former Gulf High School basketball player.

Investigators say the body of Antonio Rangel, 20, was found in a grassy area near the intersection of Caton Ave. and Moon Lake Road on Wednesday morning.

Rangel was the captain of the Gulf High School boy's basketball team during his senior year at the New Port Richey school, according to the school's website.

An arrest affidavit released by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office Thursday morning said that there was a large puncture to Rangel's chest and several cuts to his face and head. A knife and cell phone were found near his body.

Detectives checked Rangel's phone and say he had texted a person named Tom about a drug transaction. The text included information about where Tom and Rangel would meet.

Detectives say they learned that the phone number belonged to Thomas Lesher, 31, of New Port Richey. Lesher's address was also 2,000 feet away from where Rangel's body was found.

On Wednesday afternoon, investigators found Rangel's car in the same neighborhood where his body was found. They say the keys to the car were still in the ignition and there was a large amount of blood inside.

Detectives say they went to Lesher's home on Wednesday evening, where Lesher admitted to being involved in a drug transaction with Rangel and said they got into a fight and he stabbed him then stole his car.

Lesher allegedly told detectives that he discarded the clothing he was wearing in a wooded area near his home. Detectives say they found the clothing in the woods.

Lesher was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

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