BROOKSVILLE — A main player in a Brooksville drug-trafficking operation pleaded guilty Monday and received 20 years in state prison.
Dontay Washington, 31, faced a maximum sentence of life in prison on more than a dozen drug charges, including four counts of cocaine trafficking, if he went to trial.
But prosecutors reduced and dropped a number of charges in exchange for the guilty plea.
"I looked at him as a lieutenant, not a captain," said Assistant State Attorney Rob Lewis.
Washington was one of nine associates nabbed during "Operation Raw Deal," a nearly yearlong undercover operation by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office that toppled a major drug ring.
According to court documents, Washington sold drugs to an undercover deputy 10 times in four months, far more than the others implicated. Most of the deals occurred at Washington's house at 308 Armstrong St. in Brooksville. But Washington's involvement in the organization largely stopped in February after he was jailed for violating his probation.
Washington has an extensive criminal history dating to 1995, when he was convicted of selling and possessing cocaine.
In 1999, he was convicted on more drug charges and aggravated assault with a firearm, court records show.
Even after his arrest, investigators managed to use Washington to keep track of the trafficking organization by listening to his phone calls from jail.
In those calls, it was confirmed that an undercover detective's identity had been compromised by a deputy clerk of court.
John Frank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 754-6114.