Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Charlene E. Honeywell yesterday sentenced Paul Close (30) to 15 years and six months in federal prison for conspiring to distribute crack cocaine. Close was the last of four individuals to be sentenced in this case. On August 8, 2014, Craig Cooley (36) was sentenced to 17 years and six months in federal prison for conspiring to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine. Lataurus Wanser (31) was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment for conspiring to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine. On August 11, 2014, Daniel Brumfield (35) was sentenced to 21 years in prison for conspiring to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine. As part of their sentences, the Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $13,215.00 against each individual, which were the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct. In addition, Craig Cooley was ordered to forfeit a 2009 Nissan 370Z Coupe, which was traceable to proceeds of the offense. All four individuals pleaded guilty in April and May of this year.
According to court documents, Cooley, Wanser, and Close were supplying crack cocaine to Brumfield. Brumfield arranged to sell the crack cocaine to an undercover detective on several occasions. Cooley also supplied crack cocaine to the detective on four occasions. Wanser and Close each supplied crack cocaine to the detective on one occasion. The total amount of crack cocaine distributed to the undercover detective was 288.93 grams. In addition to selling the drugs to the undercover detective, Brumfield, a previously convicted felon, also sold the detective a loaded .380 caliber handgun and two boxes of .380 caliber ammunition. Due to his previous felony conviction, Brumfield is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shauna S. Hale.