|September 7, 2018
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced the sentencing of a member of a massive drug trafficking ring prosecuted by the Office of Statewide Prosecution and the State Attorney’s Office for the 12th Judicial Circuit. Cedric Houston, 33, today pled no contest to charges related to a massive drug operation busted in 2016. Houston pled no contest to conspiracy to traffic illegal drugs, trafficking in illegal drugs, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, four counts of sale of heroin and three counts of possession of heroin with the intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a church. The Honorable Judge Edward Nicholas sentenced Houston to 25 years in prison.
In February 2016, Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bradenton Police Department, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office for the 12th Judicial Circuit arrested Houston and 14 others in connection to the drug trafficking ring. The ring operated out of Manatee County and spanned several counties.
During the year’s long investigation, law enforcement seized large amounts of heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. The heroin seized had an estimated wholesale value of more than $250,000 and the cocaine had an estimated value of more than $100,000. Investigators also seized firearms, a hundred hydromorphone pills and more than $320,000 cash and assets.
In April 2017, a Bradenton jury found another member of the drug ring, Michael Brian Brooks, guilty of conspiracy to traffic heroin, 28 grams or more. The jury sentenced Brooks to 25 years in prison and ordered the defendant to pay a $500,000 fine. Houston is just the latest member of the criminal enterprise to be sentenced.
Deputy Chief Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Joseph Spataro handled the case for the Florida Attorney General’s Office. Prosecutor Dickey Hough handled the case for the State Attorney’s Office.