United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg recently announced the return of an indictment charging Emmanuel Dourthe, of Deltona, and Brendan Wells, of Tampa, with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances, possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
For each of the controlled substance charges, if convicted, each faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison. If convicted of the gun offense, the Central Florida men face a minimum mandatory of 5 years, and up to life, in federal prison to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed.
According to the indictment, between February 6 and 14, 2023, Dourthe and Wells conspired with others to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture containing methamphetamine, 40 grams or more or a mixture containing fentanyl, and a mixture containing cocaine. The indictment further alleges that Dourthe and Wells possessed these substances with the intent to distribute them. Dourthe and Wells possessed a firearm during their commission of their drug offenses.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Samantha Newman. The forfeiture is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Nebesky.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.