Tallahassee, FL - Lawrence Berry, Jr., 44, of Opalocka, was convicted late yesterday of conspiring to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine, possessing with intent to distribute cocaine, possessing a firearm in furtherance of the drug trafficking offenses, and possessing a firearm after a felony conviction, announced Pamela C. Marsh, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Defendant and two other men were arrested during the execution of a search warrant at a townhouse on Diehl Drive, in northeast Tallahassee, on May 3, 2010. According to trial testimony, 730 grams of cocaine and $15,600 were found hidden behind kitchen paneling. Defendant had $1,049 on his person and in his vehicle. A Romanian-made assault rifle, with a loaded magazine, was lying on the fireplace. Digital scales, cutting agents, and portions of plastic bags tainted with cocaine were found in the apartment. "Barron," a drug-trained canine employed by the Tallahassee Police Department, alerted to the odor of controlled substances on the monies taken from defendant's person and vehicle, as well as to each of three duffle bags found in the bedroom Berry used.
The indictment charged that defendant had prior convictions for sale of marijuana in 1984 and for manslaughter and shooting in an occupied dwelling in 1988. With the prior drug felony conviction, defendant faces from ten years’ to life imprisonment on each of the drug charges.
Defendant faces from five years to life for possessing the firearm in furtherance of the drug offenses, which term must be made consecutive to any other sentence. Defendant faces up to ten years’ imprisonment as a convicted felon in possession of the firearm.
The verdicts were returned at 7:00 p.m. on April 5, 2011, after a two day trial with five hours of jury deliberations. United States District Judge Robert L. Hinkle set sentencing for June 29, 2011. Defendant remains in the custody of the United States Marshal's Service.
U.S. Attorney Marsh commended the Tallahassee Police Department Special Investigations Section, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives whose joint investigation led to the conviction in this case.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael T. Simpson.