Federal Jury Finds Leader of Drug Trafficking Organization Guilty
OCALA, Fla. – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced that a federal jury has found Jonathan Jermaine Thomas (32, Ocala) guilty of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, and more than 1 kilogram of heroin. The jury also found Thomas guilty of possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and possessing with the intent to distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl. Seven co-conspirators pleaded guilty prior to the trial. Thomas faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years, and up to life, in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to evidence presented during the four-day trial, Thomas supplied large amounts of drugs to a “trap” house in Summerfield. Once the drugs were delivered to the house, his fellow conspirators worked together to prepare, mix, and distribute the various substances to users and smaller-scale suppliers who made daily purchases from the residence. During the course of the investigation, DEA agents found that Thomas served as the lead supplier and that his enforcers carried firearms to protect the drug assets and others who helped package and distribute the substances from the house.
On September 9, 2020, Thomas was stopped by law enforcement on I-75 in Gainesville. After smelling the odor of marijuana, a search of the vehicle by law enforcement yielded nearly a kilogram of fentanyl hidden within the vehicle’s side paneling. The fentanyl had been packaged for distribution, and Thomas was heading to Detroit, Michigan, to meet with a buyer. His passenger, who was charged in the indictment, pleaded guilty prior to trial.
This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration Gainesville Resident Office with support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, and the Gainesville Police Department. It is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida.
If you are aware of controlled substance violations in your community, please submit your anonymous tip through the DEA online Tip Line at Submit a Tip | DEA.gov. Concerns about prescription drug abuse or diversion can be reported to the DEA through this link: RX Abuse Online Reporting (usdoj.gov).
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