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Press Release

Hardee County Man Sentenced To More Than 8 Years For Trafficking In Methamphetamine

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell has sentenced Jefferson Lee Kirkland (68, Zolfo Springs) to eight years and one month in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute methamphetamine.  He pleaded guilty on August 12, 2014.

According to court documents, on March 27, 2014, Kirkland sold a pound of methamphetamine to a confidential source working for DEA.  He was arrested later that day.  During a search of Kirkland’s residence agents found an additional 5.5 ounces of methamphetamine, a .22 caliber handgun, and a shotgun.  Kirkland identified his source of supply as his co-defendant, Jerry Mendez.  Agents then arrested Mendez and executed a search warrant at his residence.  Inside, they found one pound of pure methamphetamine in a kitchen freezer and a smaller amount of methamphetamine in a bedroom.  They also found approximately 100 grams of cocaine powder, $12,400 in currency, and 3 handguns with ammunition inside the home.  Mendez later admitted to having another 3 pounds of methamphetamine in the attic of his residence, which the agents found and seized.  On September 23, 2014, Mendez pleaded guilty to the same charge as Kirkland.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 18, 2014.  The firearms and cash seized during the course of the investigation have been administratively forfeited. 

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathy J.M. Peluso.

Updated January 26, 2015