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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Middle District of Florida

For Immediate Release

April 26, 2012

Robert E. O’Neill, United States Attorney

Contact: William Daniels
(813) 274-6388

Pines Drug Supplier Sentenced to Sixteen Years

Tampa, FL — U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces that U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara today sentenced Cuwissie Hamilton (32, Tampa) to sixteen years in federal prison, followed by eight years of supervised release, for distributing twenty–eight grams or more of cocaine base. Hamilton pled guilty on November 4, 2011.

According to court documents, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), joined by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), initiated the Pines Operation in an effort to combat an ongoing drug and gang epidemic at a pair of apartment complexes located in Tampa. Approximately 52 individuals were arrested on state or federal charges as a result of the operation. During the course of it, an undercover law enforcement officer purchased, on two separate occasions, a total of 40.1 grams of crack cocaine from Hamilton. Hamilton has twelve prior Florida drug convictions, including two prior convictions for trafficking in 28 grams or more of cocaine.

This case was investigated by HCSO and ATF. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.