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Press Release

Drug Dealer Sentenced To 25 Years For Selling Drugs, Causing Overdoses, And Disposing Of A Body

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

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge William F. Jung has sentenced Sherman Michael Puckett (34, Clearwater) to 25 years in federal prison for conspiring to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, 10 grams or more of fentanyl analogues, 5 grams or more of methamphetamine, and heroin; and obstructing of justice. Puckett had pleaded guilty on March 14, 2022.

According to court documents and evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, from at least July 23, 2018, through September 17, 2019, Puckett conspired with others to distribute over 255 grams of fentanyl, over 37 grams of fentanyl analogues, over 28 grams of cocaine, and over 17 grams of methamphetamine, among other drugs. During this time, Puckett mixed heroin and fentanyl together in his own “recipe,” which he told unwitting customers was heroin alone. As a result of not knowing the contents of what they were ingesting, Puckett’s customers sometimes accidentally overdosed. Puckett was responsible for an unknown number of non-fatal overdoses, which he regarded as an acceptable cost of his business model. The users who survived became addicted to fentanyl and thus loyal customers. As Puckett put it to one witness, “if they [his customers] can survive the high, I will always have a paycheck.”

Puckett maintained a rotating series of hotel rooms and short-stay rentals for the purpose of storing his drugs and selling them to others. In order to evade law enforcement, Puckett moved every few days or weeks. Puckett also trafficked women, whom he paid and kept loyal with drugs. One woman (S.C.) whom Puckett had supplied with drugs died of an overdose in one of Puckett’s hotel rooms. In an attempt to hide the evidence and escape responsibility, Puckett obstructed justice by stripping her body naked, wrapping it in plastic, and dumping it at the base of the Howard Frankland Bridge – on the St. Petersburg side, where it was found the next morning by a local fisherman.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, and the St. Petersburg Police Department.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael M. Gordon, with assistance from Assistant United States Attorneys Craig R. Gestring and Samantha E. Beckman.

Updated August 23, 2022

Drug Trafficking