For Immediate Release
Marion County Convicted Felon Facing 15 Years to Life for Possession of a Firearm
Ocala, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Jermaine Lamar Harris (31, Ocala) pleaded guilty today to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He faces a mandatory minimum term of 15 years, up to life, in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, in August 2014, Harris sold cocaine and three firearms to a confidential informant working with law enforcement. All of the transactions were video-recorded. Specifically, on August 13, 2014, Harris sold the informant cocaine and a revolver. Six days later, the informant returned to Harris’s residence and purchased additional cocaine from him. Finally, on August 26, 2014, Harris arranged for the informant to purchase a semi-automatic handgun from another person. As they waited for that person to arrive, Harris sold the informant an unloaded rifle that Harris kept in his residence. When the second person sold the informant a handgun, Harris kept the money from that transaction as well. Harris was subsequently arrested on September 23, 2014.
Harris was a previously convicted felon at the time of the offenses and was therefore prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law. His numerous prior drug sale convictions qualify him for a sentencing enhancement as an Armed Career Criminal under federal law.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.
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 Regina Lombardo, 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. It is also a part of ATF’s Frontline Strategy to reduce violent crime in our communities.