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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
For Immediate Release
Roger B. Handberg, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl
Thursday, November 9, 2023

Armed Drug Trafficker Sentenced to Nine Years for Possessing Firearm and Distributing Quantities of Fentanyl

TAMPA, Fla. – Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew has sentenced Eugene Washington Jr., 36, of Bradenton to nine years in federal prison for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession with the intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl. Washington had pleaded guilty on June 7.

According to the plea agreement, on the morning of Aug. 12, 2022, officers from the Bradenton Police Department (BPD) responded to a call for service from a concerned citizen regarding an unresponsive individual sitting in the driver’s seat of his vehicle around the 700 block of 9th Street East in Bradenton. The car was stopped in traffic, facing the traffic light in the median lane. Once at the scene, the BPD officers asked Washington to exit the vehicle. As Washington exited the car, 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. 

Also recovered from inside the vehicle was a backpack, located on the passenger floorboard. That backpack contained a variety of controlled substances, including: 44.07 grams of fentanyl, 35.06 grams of methamphetamine, 93.86 grams of cocaine base, 13.91 grams of cocaine, 36.28 grams of hydrocodone, 9.99 grams of oxycodone, 433.37 grams of dimethylpentylone (a substituted cathinone), and 21.35 grams of cannabis. Washington later admitted that he had previously been convicted of distributing heroin and had served a federal prison sentence for that offense. As a convicted felon, Washington is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.

This case was investigated by the Bradenton Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David W.A. Chee and Diego F. Novaes.

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.

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