Tallahassee man sentenced to 20 years in federal drug trafficking case

Stephen Jerome Brinson, 47, of Tallahassee, was sentenced to just under 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of distribution of fentanyl.

The offenses were committed while Brinson was under federal supervision after his release from federal prison for a 2005 federal narcotics conviction.

“Those who repeatedly commit serious crimes, in this case while still under supervision from the prior offense, are deserving of significant prison sentences,” Jason R. Coody, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida said. “With our law enforcement partners, we are committed to identifying and aggressively prosecuting those recidivist offenders who callously distribute such addictive and deadly controlled substances. This sentence is further proof of our resolve.”

The news release says in 2021, investigators with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Drug Enforcement Administration developed information that Brinson, who was then serving a period of court-ordered supervision following his prior 7-years sentence for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, had resumed his drug trafficking activities.

Investigators quickly conducted two controlled purchases of what was initially thought to be heroin, but subsequently tested positive as 14 grams of fentanyl, the report says. 

Upon his indictment, Brinson was immediately taken into custody where he has remained pending sentencing.  

“Last year, 68% of the American lives lost to drug overdoses and poisonings were due to an illicit synthetic opioid, like fentanyl, the same poison that Mr. Brinson was distributing in his community,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Miami Field Division Special Agent in Charge Deanne L. Reuter. “This sentence not only holds Mr. Brinson accountable for his crimes, but also reaffirms the Drug Enforcement Agency Miami Field Division’s commitment to working closely with our law enforcement partners to bring those who distribute this poison in our North Florida communities to justice.”

That 68 percent includes 10 people in Gadsden County who died last year during the Fourth of July weekend, in what law enforcement called a “mass fentanyl poisoning.”

This prosecution resulted from a combined investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Tallahassee Police Department, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, and the North Florida Hi-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.

Assistant United States Attorney Eric K. Mountin prosecuted the case.

 Erin Hill – Gadsden County News Service


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