For Immediate Release
Sarasota Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty to Possessing Firearms and Distribution Quantities of Methamphetamine
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Clinton Justesen (48, Sebring) has pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it. Justesen faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison for the firearm offense and up to 20 years’ imprisonment for the drug offense. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, on September 9, 2022, deputies from the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office stopped a truck driven by Justesen near the intersection of Williamsburg Street and North Lockwood Ridge Road in Sarasota. Justesen was towing a motorcycle which had been reported stolen on August 23, 2022. A search of Justesen’s truck and the trailer carrying the motorcycle yielded multiple firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition of different calibers, approximately 12.6 grams of methamphetamine, a vacuum sealer, a digital scale, assorted pills and tablets of various colors, and approximately $12,000.
The firearms found in Justesen’s truck included a HS Produkt XD9 9mm pistol, a Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield 9mm pistol, and an Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 .223/5.56mm caliber rifle with an installed vertical foregrip.
At the time, Justesen had multiple prior felony convictions including vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash with death, armed robbery, and felon in possession of a firearm. As a previously convicted felon, Justesen is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law. Justesen admitted to selling narcotics, possessing the firearms, and that he needed the firearms for his protection during his drug dealing activities.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David W.A. Chee.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.