A commercial fisherman faces life in prison for catching a 45 pound haul of cocaine and selling it instead of turning it over to the authorities.
Thomas Breeding, a 32-year-old boat captain who has had a history of drug and weapons convictions, was charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and unlawfully transporting a firearm, the Panama City News Herald reported.
Breeding said he had never been involved in the drug trade before and was “just a hard-working, young commercial fisherman.”
Breeding distributed the cocaine to four others who helped him sell the product and then received a cut from the sales.
The cocaine haul was worth between $500,000 and $620,000, according to AL.com.
Authorities investigated the scheme and charged all five people involved with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Breeding pleaded guilty to the charges Wednesday along with his co-defendants.
Breeding faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $4.25 million fine, and he’s warning others not to follow his example.
“This changed my life and way of thinking and also made me aware of some of the dangers that can be found off shore in the Gulf,” Breeding wrote recently in a letter to the News Herald from the Washington County Jail. “I would like to let the public know the dangers and what not to do if this situation comes about.”