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Press Release

Armed Drug Dealer Sentenced To Over 10 Years In Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Charlene E. Honeywell has sentenced Michael James Staton (30, Wachula) to 10 years and 10 months in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, possession of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it, unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and two counts of distribution of 5 grams or more of methamphetamine. The court also ordered Staton to forfeit a North American Arms Guardian, .380 caliber handgun, Springfield Armory XDS, .45 caliber handgun, Glock 19 handgun, and $12,408 in U.S. currency that was traceable to the offense. Staton had pleaded guilty on October 17, 2022.

According to court documents, on July 18, 2020, Staton was serving the supervision portion of a sentence stemming from a Florida felony conviction. The supervision conditions included a curfew of 10:00 PM. On that same day, a law enforcement officer who was aware that Staton was under state supervision and subject to curfew observed Staton drive into a gas station. The officer approached and detained Staton to investigate the curfew violation, conducted a pat-down search of Staton and discovered $2,248 and marijuana on Staton’s person. As other officers arrived on the scene, one officer observed a firearm in plain view on the floorboard of Staton’s car. The officers searched Staton’s car and found 131 grams of methamphetamine, two firearms, $10,160 in a safe, two cellphones, and 889 grams of marijuana. 

A few months later, on October 27, 2020, Staton and a co-conspirator sold 28 grams of methamphetamine to a confidential informant. On October 8, 2020, Staton and his co-conspirator sold an additional 56 grams of methamphetamine

This case was investigated by a multi-agency task force through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. Agencies involved in this OCDETF operation include Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office, and the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charlie D. Connally.

Updated January 23, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses