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Press Release

Southern California Man Sentenced for Smuggling Synthetic Drugs into Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — James Steven Harris, aka Steve Harris, 45, of Loma Linda, was sentenced today to two years and six months in prison for his involvement in smuggling smokeable synthetic cannabinoids, commonly known as “spice,” “K2, or “incense,” to his brother who was then an inmate of Taft Correctional Institution, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

On August 10, 2015, Steve Harris sentence pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements under penalty of prosecution on Federal Bureau of Prisons visitor forms that he was not in possession of contraband, knowing that he was in possession of smokeable synthetic drugs containing XLR11. According to court documents, on one occasion Steve Harris successfully smuggled 15.5 grams of XLR11 into TCI for his brother Tracy McArthur Harris, aka Trey Harris, 42, and later attempted to smuggle 34.3 grams of XLR11, along with four packages of rolling papers, into the prison. At the time, XLR11 was a controlled substance analogue, which has since been made a Schedule I controlled substance.

At sentencing, United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii stated: “The serious nature of smuggling contraband into a federal prison has serious consequences.”

Tracy Harris was subject to a prison disciplinary proceeding that added more time to his current 11-year prison term that he is currently serving for a drug conspiracy conviction. He was also sentenced in May to a consecutive one-year prison term for his involvement in obtaining the synthetic drugs from his brother. Court documents indicate that Tracy Harris, in turn, distributed the drug to other inmates at Taft.

A report by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice found that drugs reach federal prisoners primarily through inmate visitors.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Investigative Supervisor’s Office of Taft Correctional Institution. Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar prosecuted the case.

Updated October 26, 2015

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 1:14-cr-190 AWI