Multi-Kilogram Drug Trafficker Convicted At Trial, After Spending More Than Four Years On The Lam

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Tampa, Florida –United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that a federal jury has found Derrick Samuel Lewis (51, Sarasota) guilty of conspiracy, possession with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and possession with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. Lewis faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 24, 2022. Lewis had been charged by way of a superseding indictment on June 28, 2017.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, in 2016 and 2017, Lewis was involved with a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that specialized in the distribution of cocaine and marijuana. On behalf of the DTO, Lewis coordinated the shipment of kilogram quantities of cocaine and marijuana from Arizona to Florida, hidden among innocuous items such as unassembled office furniture. On February 24, 2017, investigators seized an incoming shipment containing 25 kilograms of cocaine and 444 kilograms of marijuana in Tampa, which had a wholesale value at that time of more than $3 million.

On June 7, 2017, investigators arrested Lewis. When taken into custody, he was in possession of $50,000 in bulk cash currency. On June 30, 2017, the court set conditions of pre-trial release for Lewis. A short time later, he absconded and became a fugitive from justice, leaving his wife and family. While on the run, Lewis at times resided in Mexico. On August 31, 2021, the U.S. Marshals Service rearrested Lewis in Arizona, and returned him to the Middle District of Florida to stand trial.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Tampa Police Department. Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Marshals Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carlton C. Gammons.