DADE CITY — The man who bought a massive amount of cocaine from an undercover Pasco County sheriff's detective 21/2 years ago was sentenced Thursday morning to 15 years in prison.
Timothy Webb, 47, was found guilty of cocaine trafficking at the end of a two-day trial earlier this week.
In April 2006, in a reverse sting, Webb bought two kilograms — about 4.4 pounds — of cocaine for $32,000. It was so much cocaine it was brought to the courtroom in what looked like a brown paper grocery sack.
He had moved a few months before from Maine to Florida in a motor home and was living at the Pasco RV Park with his wife and their 5-year-old son. His wife, Carol Niedt, had gotten a $175,000 divorce settlement from her ex-husband, and Webb and Niedt started to spend most of it on cocaine, heroin, marijuana and pain pills.
He said in a hearing earlier this year that they spent approximately $100,000 in eight weeks.
Webb did drugs with his neighbor, Michael Henning, and told him about the divorce money. Henning ended up as a confidential informer for the Sheriff's Office. He set up Webb's first meeting with the undercover detective and was paid $2,000 by the Sheriff's Office for "intro and assistance."
In court records, in earlier hearings, and when he took the stand this week, Webb said Henning was threatening and forced him into this by telling him the dealer was dangerous and would hurt his family if he backed out.
Webb's attorney argued all of this added up to entrapment.
Henning couldn't testify one way or the other. He died of a drug overdose six months after the sting.
Was Webb telling the truth? Or was he spinning a story to try to pin something on a dead man?
Jurors needed all of 45 minutes Tuesday to make up their minds.
The judge, it seemed on Thursday, agreed with their verdict.
"You're a liar," Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa told Webb.
"I don't believe anything you say."
Webb's previous criminal record included possession of heroin in New Jersey and vehicular manslaughter in Maine. He went to prison for both. Siracusa told Webb that what bothered him the most about this case was the presence of the young boy.
"The money that you squandered, that money could've gone to buy that child a future," the judge said. "So I don't feel bad when I give you 15 years in prison."
Michael Kruse can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6244.