Two St. Petersburg Men Plead Guilty To Possession Of Controlled Substances With Intent To Distribute

Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Armani Dilworth (28, St. Petersburg) and Lemar Cowart (27, St. Petersburg) have pleaded guilty to possessing controlled substances with the intent to distribute them. Each faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Dilworth has also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking offense and faces a minimum mandatory penalty of five years, up to life, in federal prison for the firearm offense, to run consecutive to the other sentence imposed. Sentencing dates have not yet been set.

According to court documents, on May 4, 2020, an eyewitness observed a vehicle, occupied by Dilworth and Cowart, pull into oncoming traffic and shoot into the front of another vehicle. This action caused the other vehicle to retaliate, and a high-speed chase ensued. The car which Dilworth and Cowart occupied ultimately crashed into a gate at Azalea Middle School, and Cowart and Dilworth ran from the vehicle. Inside the vehicle, officers found cocaine, two substances containing 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 case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the St. Petersburg Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Samantha Newman. The forfeiture is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney James Muench.

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.

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