A grand jury indictment of 38 year-old James Lamark Early, of St Augustine, was unsealed today by United States Attorney Robert E O’Neill alleging illegal drug manufacturing, maintaining a drug-involved premise, and distributions of cocaine base; charges which could send him to federal prison for the rest of his life, if he is convicted.
Early, who told booking officers that he resides at 1174 West King Street, has been arrested numerous times and has previously been convicted of multiple felony drug offenses, according to the US Attorney.
This time around, Early is accused of conspiring to manufacture and distribute more than 280 grams of cocaine base — commonly known as “crack” cocaine.
O’Neill told Historic City News that Early conspired with others to manufacture, distribute, and possess, with intent to distribute, more than 280 grams of crack cocaine in St Johns County; all between January 2010 and October 15, 2011.
Working from a residential property located at 695 Duval Street, at West 8th Street, presently owned by the estate of E. D. Brown and overseen by his executor, Bettye Brown who lives in Lauderhill, Early regularly manufactured, distributed, and used crack cocaine.
The indictment also notifies Early that the United States intends to seize the Brown property, because it was allegedly used to facilitate the offenses. Early is also charged with distributing crack cocaine in St Johns County on four separate occasions.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mac D. Heavener, III.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.