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Press Release

Tampa Man Who Was A Fugitive For Nearly 15 Years Pleads Guilty To Conspiring To Possess With Intent To Distribute Over 100 Kilograms Of Marijuana

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

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Zecki Halum, (40, Tampa) has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana. Halum faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 5 years, up to 40 years, in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, in August 2009, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) received information that a recreational vehicle (RV) would be used to transport approximately 200 pounds of marijuana from Arizona to the Middle District of Florida. Agents tracked the RV as Halum’s co-conspirator, Dale Wetherholt, drove the RV to Florida. Upon Wetherholt’s arrival in Tampa, he was met by a vehicle driven by another co-conspirator with Halum in the passenger seat. Wetherholt, Halum, and the co-conspirator followed each other first to a convenience store parking lot, and then to a church parking lot in Crystal Springs, where they planned to unload the marijuana from the RV. At that time, agents arrested Halum and his coconspirators. Agents searched the RV and found over 100 kilograms of marijuana packaged in bales and wrapped in a manner consistent with drug trafficking.

Halum was indicted on September 23, 2009. In February 2010, Halum violated the conditions of his pretrial release, failed to appear for court, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Halum was arrested on the warrant on March 29, 2024.

Wetherholt pleaded guilty on November 12, 2009, to the same offense and was sentenced on April 30, 2010, to 30 months in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jeff Chang and Kelley Howard Allen.

Updated July 3, 2024

Drug Trafficking