JURY: Man guilty of drug trafficking, faces up to Life

A 6-person Bay County jury Friday found a Panama City man guilty as charged on two drug offenses, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

Willie Kacheno Cleveland, 42, was convicted of Trafficking in Methamphetamine (more than 28 grams) and Possession of Cocaine. Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark set sentencing for Dec. 1. The defendant faces life in prison as a habitual felony offender.

“It’s a great feeling when everyone works together to get a major drug trafficker off the streets,” Prosecutor Jacob Cook said. “The Panama City Police Department and Case Agent Austin Brock put together a good case that helped lead to a guilty verdict.”

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Cook and co-prosecutor Josh James presented witnesses and evidence showing that Panama City police served a search warrant on a 10th Street home on May 8, 2020, and as a result found over 150 grams of methamphetamine, as well as cocaine.

The evidence showed that the defendant attempted to flee when police arrived but was apprehended after a short foot pursuit. Police ultimately recovered 383 multi-colored pills containing methamphetamine packaged in plastic baggies. They also discovered numerous small baggies containing cocaine.

Basford thanked Panama City police for both their proactive efforts and testimony.

For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454.