United States District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle has sentenced 27-year-old Lemar Cowart, of St. Petersburg, to 12 years and 7 months in federal prison for possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute them. 28-year-old Armani Dilworth, of St. Petersburg, was sentenced to 8 years and 10 months’ imprisonment for possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute them and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to court documents, on May 4, 2020, an eyewitness observed a vehicle pull into traffic, which was occupied by Dilworth and Cowart. One or more occupants of that vehicle fired shots into the front of another vehicle. The occupants of the other vehicle retaliated, and a high-speed chase ensued. The car which Dilworth and Cowart occupied ultimately crashed into a gate at Azalea Middle School, and Dilworth and Cowart ran from the vehicle.
Inside the vehicle, officers found cocaine, two substances that contained a mixture of heroin and fentanyl, alprazolam, oxycodone, amphetamine, buprenorphine, and cannabis. They also found evidence of narcotics distribution inside the vehicle including plastic baggies, two scales, scissors, and a firearm. Both Dilworth and Cowart’s DNA were found on the firearm recovered from the vehicle.
This Florida case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the St. Petersburg Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Gordon, Charlie Connally, and Samantha Newman. The forfeiture was handled by Assistant United States Attorney James Muench. Cowart and Dilworth had pleaded guilty in May 2023.
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.