Jury Finds Remaining Co-Defendants Guilty Of Multi-State Drug Trafficking Conspiracy And Other Related Charges
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge William Jung today sentenced Ryan Cotton (37, Manatee County) to 13 years and 4 months in federal prison for possessing with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and fentanyl.
Cotton had pleaded guilty on February 22, 2019.
According to court documents, over a 15-day period in late September and early October 2017, Cotton engaged in $19,000 worth of narcotics transactions with a confidential informant. As a result of those transactions, law enforcement officers secured a search warrant for two properties associated with Cotton. During the execution of the search warrants, the officers seized heroin, fentanyl, $30,000, and a firearm.
This case is the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation entitled “Operation Hot Batch.” The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply. The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Charlie D. Connally and Shauna H. Hale.