Mulberry Man Sentenced To 30 Years In Federal Prison For Drug Trafficking
Tampa, Florida - U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced Earl Eugene Hampton (58, Mulberry) to 30 years in federal prison for conspiring with others to distribute cocaine. The court also ordered Hampton to forfeit a 2004 Dodge Quad Cab ST recreational vehicle (RV), which was traceable to proceeds of the offense. Hampton pleaded guilty on March 6, 2013. According to court documents and testimony presented at sentencing, Hampton had been involved in distributing cocaine for the past forty years. Between 2009 and 2012, he was responsible for the distribution of approximately 280 kilograms of cocaine in Orlando, Clearwater, and elsewhere.
In numerous intercepted phone calls, Hampton negotiated with his Miami-based cocaine suppliers, and arranged for Gerald Jermaine Head, to drive him to Miami to pick up the cocaine. The investigation revealed that Head drove from Clearwater and picked up Hampton in Mulberry. Hampton and Head then drove together to the Miami area and spent the night at a motel in Hallandale, Florida.
On July 19, 2012, Hampton and Head met with Hampton's suppliers in Miami, obtained cocaine, and drove the drugs back to Hampton's residence in Polk County. Head then left with most of the cocaine.
Officers from the Clearwater Police Department later conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle being driven by Head, on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. The officers made contact with Head and immediately smelled marijuana when he lowered the driver's side window. A drug-detecting canine alerted to the presence of narcotics inside the vehicle. Officers then located and seized 482 grams of cocaine (part of the cocaine they had purchased in Miami earlier in the day) from underneath the passenger seat of the vehicle. On August 4, 2012, a search warrant executed at Hampton's residence resulted in the seizure of three firearms that Hampton admitted to possessing illegally.
Gerald Head pleaded guilty to a cocaine distribution conspiracy charge on January 18, 2013. On April 10, 2013, he was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in federal prison. Hampton received a lengthier sentence because of his greater role in the offense and lengthy criminal history.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI), with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Clearwater Police Department, and the Lee County Sheriff's Office, as part of as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. 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.
This case was a part of ATF’s “Frontline” strategy; an intelligence-driven approach to investigating federal firearms crimes. It focuses on the continuous communication, assessment, measurement, and collaboration of resources among Federal, state, and local law enforcement partners. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher F. Murray and Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.