FEDS: Highlands County Drug Traffickers Sentenced to Federal Prison

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South Florida grand jury on federal firearms charges, including illegal possession of machine guns.
A law enforcement operation handled by the Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Florida Department of Law Enforcement; and Highlands County Sheriff’s Office dismantled the drug trafficking organization

MIAMI, FL –  Several Highlands County men have been sentenced in South Florida federal district court to prison terms for their roles in a powder and crack cocaine drug trafficking ring that had become entrenched in the Lake Placid neighborhood of Highway Park, Florida. A law enforcement operation handled by the Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Florida Department of Law Enforcement; and Highlands County Sheriff’s Office dismantled the drug trafficking organization, leading to the prosecution of members at all levels of the criminal enterprise — from top leaders, to people who cooked crack, to street-level dealers. In the past three months, the following federal defendants have been sentenced in this matter:

  • Markyrie McCray, Jr., 24, was sentenced on September 8, 2021, by U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks, to 30 months’ imprisonment after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, commonly known as “crack cocaine.”  (Case No. 21-CR-14002).
  • Takaria Vashon McCray, 47, was sentenced on August 25, 2021, by Judge Middlebrooks, to 188 months’ imprisonment after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.  (Case No. 21-CR-14002).  Takaria Vashon McCray has a prior conviction from the Southern District of Florida for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and was sentenced as a career offender under the federal sentencing guidelines.
  • Markyrie McCray, Sr., 46, was sentenced on August 25, 2021, by Judge Middlebrooks, to 72 months’ imprisonment after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base.  (Case No. 21-CR-14002).  Markyrie McCray, Sr. has a prior conviction from the Southern District of Florida for conspiracy to distribute cocaine base.
  • Coy Lee Bellamy, Jr., 34, was sentenced on August 17, 2021, by Judge Middlebrooks, to 96 months’ imprisonment after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and conspiracy to distribute a cocaine.  Coy Lee Bellamy, Jr. was sentenced as a career offender under the federal sentencing guidelines.  (Case No. 21-CR-14002).
  • Terrance Mactavias Sholtz, 43, was sentenced on August 17, 2021, by U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg, to 24 months’ imprisonment after being convicted of distribution of cocaine base.  (Case No. 20-CR-14021). 
  • Marquis Sharod Bellamy, 28, was sentenced on July 1, 2021, by Judge Middlebrooks, to 180 months’ imprisonment after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.  Marquis Sharod Bellamy was sentenced under the Armed Career Criminal Act.  (Case No. 21-CR-14002).
  • Mykel Laron Treadwell, 34, was sentenced on June 2, 2021, by Judge Middlebrooks, to 24 months’ imprisonment after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute hydromorphone.  (Case No. 21-CR-14003).
  • Kenneth Jamal Deveaux, 39, was sentenced on May 26, 2021, by U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez, to 151 months’ imprisonment after being convicted of distribution of cocaine base.  (Case No. 20-CR-14022).  Kenneth Jamal Deveaux has a prior conviction from the Southern District of Florida for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and was sentenced as a career offender under the federal sentencing guidelines.
  • Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, La Verne J. Hibbert, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, Robert Cekada, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Miami Field Office, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Miami Field Office, Troy Walker, Special Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Paul Blackman, Sheriff, Highlands County Sheriff’s Office made the announcement.  The State Attorney’s Office for Florida’s 10th Judicial Circuit assisted greatly with this operation.

These cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Porter. The prosecution was part of Operation Triple Play, which is a result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, and other priority transnational criminal organizations that threaten the citizens of the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence driven, multi-agency approach to combat transnational organized crime.  The OCDETF program facilitates complex, joint operations by focusing its partner agencies on priority targets, by managing and coordinating multi-agency efforts, and by leveraging intelligence across multiple investigative platforms.

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