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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
For Immediate Release
Roger B. Handberg, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl
Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Sarasota Drug Dealer Sentenced to More Than Six Years for Possessing AR-Style Rifle, Handguns, Hundreds of Rounds of Ammunition, and Distribution Quantities of Methamphetamine

TAMPA, Fla. – U.S. District Judge James S. Moody, Jr. today sentenced Clinton Justesen, 49, of Sebring to six years and two months in federal prison for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it. Justesen had pleaded guilty on March 6.

According to the plea agreement, on Sept. 9, 2022, deputies from the Sarasota County 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 Aug. 23, 2022. A search of Justesen’s truck and the trailer carrying the motorcycle revealed 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 in cash. 

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Three firearms

The firearms recovered from Justesen’s truck included: (1) a HS Produkt XD9 9mm pistol; (2) a Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield 9mm pistol; and (3) an Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 .223/5.56mm caliber rifle with a vertical foregrip installed thereon. 

At the time, Justesen had prior felony convictions including: (1) vehicular homicide; (2) leaving the scene of a crash with death; (3) armed robbery; and (4) felon in possession of a firearm, all on or about January 31, 1997. As a convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.

Justesen later admitted to ATF 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 was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. 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.

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