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Crack Cocaine Conviction Could Net 40 Year Prison Sentence

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After a three-day trial, a federal jury found John Winton Harris, 31, of Sacramento, guilty of one count of possession of at least 29 grams of cocaine base, commonly referred to as crack cocaine or rock cocaine, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. The trial was held before United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr.

According to evidence presented at trial, Sacramento police officers responded to a domestic violence complaint at an apartment complex in Sacramento. When the officers entered the apartment, they found Harris crouched in the kitchen area. He was moved to a different location in the apartment, and when officers found a large amount of cocaine base where he had been crouching in the kitchen, Harris attempted to flee. Harris claimed he did not live in the apartment, but officers found mail addressed to him at that address, as well as other personal items belonging to him in the apartment. Harris's cellphone revealed photographs of Harris in the same apartment with a large amount of currency only days before, as well as text messages indicating he was involved in the distribution of cocaine base that very week.

This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the Sacramento Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Todd Pickles and Chris Highsmith are prosecuting the case.

Harris remains in custody pending sentencing.

Harris is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge England on October 23, 2014. Harris faces a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.