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Press Release

Tampa Man Sentenced To 23 Years In Prison On Drugs And Weapons Charges

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

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge James S. Moody, Jr. today sentenced Charlie Vernon, Jr. (Tampa, 54) to 23 years in federal prison for possessing with the intent to distribute more than an ounce of crack cocaine and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. He was also ordered to forfeit various firearms and ammunition, which are traceable to the offenses. 

Charlie Vernon, Jr. was found guilty by a jury on October 10, 2013.

According to court documents, the Tampa Police Department (TPD) executed a search warrant at Vernon’s residence on February 1, 2013, and recovered two ounces of crack cocaine, various quantities of powder cocaine, marijuana, and paraphernalia used to package and distribute those drugs, including scales, baggies, crack pipes, and cutting instruments. In addition to locating those items in Vernon’s bedroom, TPD also found four firearms and over 800 rounds of ammunition fitting those firearms. Prior to February 1, 2013, Vernon had previously been convicted of three felonies for drug trafficking offenses. As such, he was prohibited from possessing any firearms or ammunition under federal law.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) and the Tampa Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Jackson and Natalie Adams.

It is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” program - a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy.  Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, along with Julie Leon, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, is coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort here in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

This case is also a part of ATF’s Frontline strategy - an effective method in reducing violent crime and improving the quality of life in communities where law enforcement efforts are focused.

Updated January 26, 2015