GULFPORT -- A Gulfport bar owner will serve seven years and three months in prison for buying and selling cocaine and China White heroin out of the Ice Daiquiri Lounge on Pass Road.
Chief U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. imposed the sentence Tuesday, also ordering Carlos Miller, 35, to serve three years under post-release supervision and pay a $5,000 fine. Miller pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted possession with intent to distribute of cocaine. A criminal forfeiture filed calls for the seizure of a 2008 Dodge Charger and $8,628 in drug proceeds.
At least seven people were at Miller's sentencing to show support for him.
A federal grand jury had indicted him and the bar's co-owner, Julie Michelle Glass, 31, on drug conspiracy charges. It also indicted Glass and Randall Sheffield on charges of conspiracy to commit a violent crime; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking scheme; unlawful transport of firearms; and two counts of attempted possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Benjamin Taylor, a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, said an investigation began after agents learned of drug trafficking at the bar.
He said agents sent a confidential informant to the bar, who met with Glass and Miller in November 2014. In their initial meeting, Taylor said, the bar owners tried to negotiate a deal to buy 3 kilos of the high-grade heroin. They later said they wanted to buy cocaine also.
Taylor said Miller was having trouble getting the cash for the drugs and ended up offering $25,000 in cash plus a piece of real estate left to Glass; two guns, one of which was a 9 mm Uzi; and the title to a Dodge Charger. Taylor said they wanted to buy the cocaine first, sell it and then buy the heroin.
Agents with the DEA Task Force, Taylor said, monitored most of their recorded conversations.
At one meeting, court papers say, Miller told the informant he sold heroin out of the bar and worked with members of a New Orleans drug-trafficking organization.
Authorities arrested the three in January 2015. Taylor said agents recovered an Uzi and a mask, cash and various drug paraphernalia including syringes, from the bar.
Glass is serving seven years and three months in prison on a drug conspiracy charge. She's appealing her sentence.
Sheffield is serving nearly four years on a charge of unlawful transport of firearms.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shundral Cole prosecuted the case.