Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Austin Harper (26, Lake City) has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Harper faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, on September 15, 2021, an undercover detective and confidential informant (CI) met with a drug dealer in Lake City, Florida to purchase crystal methamphetamine. That dealer, a defendant in a related case, traveled with the pair to meet with Harper, who supplied them with more than 85 grams of methamphetamine. Two weeks later, on September 29, the detective and CI again traveled with the dealer to meet with Harper. This time, Harper supplied them with more than 165 grams of methamphetamine. Laboratory testing would later show that the drugs that Harper had supplied was pure methamphetamine. Further investigation established that Harper was a regular supplier of methamphetamine in the Lake City region.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbia County Drug Task Force, the North Star Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force, the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Coolican.