For Immediate Release
Armed Drug Trafficker Pleads Guilty to Possessing Firearm and Distribution Quantities of Fentanyl
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Eugene Washington, Jr. (36, Bradenton) has pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and possession with the intent to distribute 40 grams more of fentanyl. Washington faces a maximum penalty of 55 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
According to the plea agreement, on the morning of August 12, 2022, officers from the Bradenton Police Department (BPD) responded to a call for service from a concerned citizen regarding an unresponsive man at the steering wheel of his Ford Focus vehicle in the 700 block of 9th Street East in Bradenton. The vehicle was stopped in traffic and facing the traffic light in the median lane.
Once at the scene, BPD officers asked Washington to exit the vehicle, and when he did, the officers noticed a silver and black Smith and Wesson SD40 .40 caliber pistol on the driver’s seat. Washington turned back into the car and appeared to reach for the firearm. The firearm was loaded with 11 rounds of ammunition. Officers also found a backpack inside the vehicle, located on the passenger floorboard. The backpack contained a variety of controlled substances, including approximately 44 grams of fentanyl, 35 grams of methamphetamine, 106 grams of cocaine, 36 grams of hydrocodone, 10 grams of oxycodone, 433 grams of dimethylpentylone (a substituted cathinone), and 21 grams of cannabis. Washington admitted to the officers that he was a convicted felon.
Washington was previously convicted in federal court for distribution of heroin and served a prison sentence for that offense. As such, he is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.
This case was investigated by the Bradenton Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David W.A. Chee.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.