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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
Roger B. Handberg, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, January 17, 2024

St. Petersburg Man Sentenced to More Than 17 Years for Possession of Controlled Substances With Intent To Distribute and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

TAMPA, Fla — U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday has sentenced Erik Barner, 45, St. Petersburg, to 17 years and six months in federal prison for distribution and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Barner had pleaded guilty on Oct. 20, 2023.

According to court documents, on February 22, March 1, and March 10, 2023, Barner sold cocaine to a confidential informant working with the St. Petersburg Police Department. Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for a residence out of which Barner was operating, and a vehicle. Officers recovered four firearms and various ammunition that had been dispersed throughout the home. In the vehicle, officers found 176 grams of cocaine. Three of the firearms recovered from the home were later determined to have been reported stolen. Two of the firearms had Barner’s DNA on them.

Barner has previous felony convictions for possession of cocaine, throwing a deadly missile at or into an occupied vehicle, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, and two trafficking in cocaine convictions. As a convicted felon he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the St. Petersburg Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Samantha Newman. The forfeiture is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Muench.

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 of Justice 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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