DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida

For Immediate Release

Thursday, September 26, 2019
Maria Chapa Lopez
, United States Attorney
Contact: William Daniels

Jacksonville Career Criminal Sentenced to Ten Years for Drugs and Guns

Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis today sentenced James Edward Phillips, III (45, Jacksonville) to 10 years in federal prison for selling cocaine and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Phillips had pleaded guilty on June 11, 2019.

According to court documents, on four occasions during the summer of 2018, Phillips sold cocaine to a confidential informant working at the direction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. On two of those occasions, Phillips also sold a total of three firearms, one of which was a rifle equipped with a 50-round drum magazine. At the time, Phillips was a 15-time convicted felon and therefore prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law. His previous convictions include kidnapping with a firearm, armed burglary with assault or battery, armed burglary, battery on a law enforcement officer, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, burglary, and grand theft.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Laura Cofer Taylor.

This is another case prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide, crime reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities. It involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts. In the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.


Tampa Field Division