For Immediate Release
Lake City Man Pleads Guilty to Drug and Firearms Charges
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Joseph Anthony Harris (51, Lake City) today pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the drug offense, to be followed by a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years, up to life, in federal prison for the firearm offense.
According to the plea agreement, after Harris sold cocaine to a confidential informant, a multi-jurisdictional task force obtained a search warrant for his home. When officers arrived to execute the warrant, Harris fled, leading them on a car chase through his neighborhood. During the chase, Harris threw a bottle containing crack cocaine from his car. He eventually stopped and was arrested. In his home, officers found more crack cocaine and a loaded .38 caliber handgun.
This case was investigated by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Coolican.
This is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program – a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy. United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, along with Daryl R. McCrary, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, is coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort here in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.