A Bradenton heroin dealer is facing life in prison after a jury found him guilty of trafficking cocaine and firearms charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida.
Woodrow Pressey, 47, was found guilty by a federal jury on Wednesday of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He now faces up to life in prison with a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years.
Pressey was indicted on Sept. 6 as part of the Operation Hot Batch, a federal-local operation that targeted drug dealers selling heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil. The initial possession with intent to sell charge Pressey faced included fentanyl, but he was only found guilty of the possession of cocaine.
On June 12, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI searched Pressey’s home and found crack cocaine, fentanyl, a razorblade used for cutting crack cocaine, and two digital scales, according to trial testimony and evidence.
Never miss a local story.
In a locked shed in his backyard, investigators found Pressey’s arsenal — which included a .38-caliber revolver, a .357-caliber revolver, a 12-gauge shotgun, a .30-06 caliber rifle, a 7.62-caliber assault rifle, five rounds of 12-gauge shotgun ammunition, five rounds of .357-caliber ammunition and two rounds of .38-caliber ammunition.
After his arrest, Pressey admitted that he locked all his firearms in the shed before going to prison in 2014 after being convicted of trafficking heroin, possession of a controlled substance and driving with a suspended license as a habitual offender.
Pressey was already a convicted felon and therefore prohibited from possessing firearms.
Two days after Pressey was released from prison April 29, he began selling crack cocaine and heroin, he later told investigators. He also claimed to have been searching for a buyer for his guns.
Operation Hot Batch was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, along with Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the Bradenton and Sarasota police departments.