Crime - Sacto 911

Drug offense nets Sacramento man lengthy prison sentence as career criminal

A Sacramento man with an extensive criminal history has been sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison for possessing cocaine.

U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. on Thursday sentenced 31-year-old John Winton Harris to 21 years and 10 months in prison for possessing more than 163 grams of crack cocaine, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

Sacramento police officers responding to a domestic violence complaint at a Sacramento apartment complex found Harris crouched in the kitchen area of an apartment, according to evidence presented during his trial. Harris was moved to a different location in the residence, and when officers found a large amount of cocaine base where he had been crouching, Harris attempted to flee.

Harris claimed he did not live at the apartment, but officers found mail addressed to him at that address, as well as personal items belonging to him in the apartment. Harris’ cell phone also revealed photographs of him in the same apartment with a large amount of currency days earlier, as well as text messages indicating he was involved in the distribution of cocaine base the same week, authorities said.

Prosecutors said Harris’ sentence was based not only on the drug offense, but also on his substantial criminal history, which rendered him a career criminal under federal law. The court also considered the finding that Harris obstructed justice by falsely testifying at a hearing held during his trial, authorities said.

The case resulted from an investigation by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Sacramento Police Department.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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