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Press Release

Conspirators Sentenced For Smuggling Narcotics Into The Hillsborough County Jail, Resulting In Serious Bodily Injury To An Inmate

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

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge William F. Jung has sentenced Seneca Dukes (42, Tampa), David Marty (43, Tampa), Emmanuel Gotay Hernandez (34, Tampa), Miriam Marti-Benning (49, Tampa), and Michelle Lipinski (35, Tampa) to federal prison for conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine resulting in serious bodily injury. Dukes and Marty, who were the leaders of the conspiracy, were sentenced to 26 years and 25 years, respectively. Gotay Hernandez was sentenced to 9 years, Marti-Benning to 8 years and 2 months, and Lipinski to 5 years and 3 months in federal prison.

Dukes and Marty pleaded guilty on October 23, 2023, the day their jury trial was to commence. Gotay Hernandez pleaded guilty on October 16, 2023, Marti-Benning pleaded guilty on November 14, 2022, and Lipinski pleaded guilty on August 11, 2022.

According to court proceedings and documents, in March 2021, the group conspired to obtain controlled substances and smuggle them into the Hillsborough County Falkenburg Road Jail. Dukes and Marty were housed in the same pod at the jail, and Lipinski, who worked as a nurse at the jail, routinely visited their pod. Dukes developed a relationship with Lipinski and asked her to meet with Marti-Benning to get packages from her and bring them to him during her rounds. Marty had his sister, Marti-Benning, obtain controlled substances, package them, and give them to Lipinski. Marty also enlisted the help of Gotay Hernandez, who previously was an inmate in the same pod of the jail as Dukes and Marty. Gotay Hernandez obtained fentanyl, and, at Marty’s direction, provided it to Marti-Benning, who in turn provided it to Lipinski.

On March 29, 2021, Lipinski smuggled packages containing fentanyl and methamphetamine into the jail during her rounds and delivered them to Dukes. The next morning, an inmate in the pod overdosed on the fentanyl, but jail medical personnel saved his life by administering Narcan.

This case was investigated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Sinacore and Samantha Newman.

Updated April 15, 2024

Drug Trafficking