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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 27, 2020

Dothan Man Sentenced to More Than 11 Years in Prison for Federal Drug and Gun Charges

Montgomery, Alabama – On Wednesday, February 26, 2020, Joshua Drake Howard, a 36-year-old resident of Dothan, Alabama, was sentenced to 140 months in prison for federal drug and firearms related charges, announced United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr., FBI Special Agent in Charge James Jewell, and Dothan Police Chief Steven Parrish. Following his prison sentence, Howard will be on supervised release for five years.

In November 2019, Howard pleaded guilty to charges of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking crime, and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

According to court records, in February 2018 the FBI and the Dothan Police Department received information that Howard would be travelling to Phenix City, Alabama to pick up methamphetamine and then return to Dothan. On February 22, 2018, officers were observing Howard during his return trip from Phenix City. As he was driving through Headland, Alabama, Howard stopped at a local fast food restaurant, ordered at the drive-through window, and parked to eat his meal. Officers approached him and asked him to get out of the vehicle. When he did, they saw a handgun in the door pocket and found crystal meth in his pants pocket. The officers then searched the truck and found a tactical bag containing more methamphetamine, a digital scale, small empty plastic bags, another handgun, and ammunition.

Just a few months later, on July 13, 2018, Dothan police officers pulled Howard over for a traffic violation and discovered he was in possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

Before announcing his sentence, the judge stated that Howard had a significant criminal history that was concerning and could not be overlooked.

“Selling drugs and carrying guns is a deadly combination that puts us all in danger,” stated U.S. Attorney Franklin. “Dealers like Joshua Howard use firearms to protect their drugs and money, with no regard for the safety of our neighborhoods, our children, or anyone but themselves. My office will continue to work with all of our law enforcement partners to identify, investigate, and prosecute anyone that endangers our communities with this type of reckless, criminal behavior.”          

FBI SAC James Jewell stated, “there is nothing but evil in the combination of illegal narcotics and firearms. These people have no issue selling this poison to our children and protecting their drug proceeds with firearms that are often stolen, or as in this case, have an obliterated serial number. The FBI remains committed to assist our state, local, and federal partners in this arena.”

“The Dothan Police Department appreciates the working relationship we have with our federal partners,” said Dothan Police Chief Steven Parrish. “This sentencing was possible because of the collaborative efforts of multiple agencies and shows the value of combining our resources to combat crime.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Dothan Police Department investigated this case, with assistance from the Headland Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Brandon Bates prosecuted this case.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Updated February 28, 2020