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Press Release

Armed Meth Dealer Sentenced To More Than 20 Years

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

Tampa, Florida – United States District Judge Steven D. Merryday has sentenced Jonathan Budowski (48, Brooksville), a/k/a “Hard Times,” to 20 years and 8 months in federal prison for his role in selling multiple kilograms of methamphetamine as part of a drug trafficking conspiracy, while maintaining an arsenal of firearms and ammunition to protect his drug stash and proceeds. Budowski was also ordered to forfeit five firearms, including an assault rifle, and 196 rounds of ammunition.

Budowski had pleaded guilty on May 22, 2019.

According to court documents, Budowski sold methamphetamine in multi-ounce quantities to a wide range of lower-level drug suppliers for several years, usually while armed. In September 2017, Budowski faced multiple state charges unrelated to this case, including felony domestic battery. After he failed to appear in state court as required, law enforcement officers secured a warrant for his arrest and a tipster alerted law enforcement that Budowski was hiding out in a motel. Law enforcement observed Budowski using his vehicle and his motel room in a manner consistent with drug dealing and ultimately had to use tear gas to draw Budowski out of the motel room to arrest him. Upon searching the motel room, officers found three loaded firearms, more than 100 rounds of ammunition, a distribution quantity of methamphetamine, and narcotics packaging materials. Budowski later stated, in a recorded call, that he had strongly considered engaging the officers in a shootout rather than submit to arrest. When officers searched Budowski’s vehicle, they recovered three more loaded firearms, including an assault rifle, as well as ammunition and drug paraphernalia.

Budowski’s criminal record includes 41 prior convictions.

This case was jointly investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, and the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael M. Gordon.

Updated September 25, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses