Former Jacksonville kingpin sent back to prison for drug charge

No one personified a Jacksonville drug kingpin quite like Henry Manns. Now, after one lengthy prison sentence, he’s on his way back behind bars – sentenced this month to 15 years in federal prison, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. A federal judge called Manns a “serial drug dealer” in handing down the sentence. Manns pleaded guilty to buying a half-kilogram of cocaine after he was caught in a 2010 drug sting in Lake City, the newspaper reported. The charge carried a minimum sentence of 10 years.

Prosecutors said in the height of the crack cocaine boom in the mid-to-late 1980s, Manns controlled 30 percent of the Jacksonville drug trade and earned north of $10 million a year. An infamous photo of Manns with a dozen gold chains holding stacks of money typically accompanies any major story about Manns in the Times-Union. He was initially sentenced to life in 1988, but got out in 2007 as part of a deal where he cooperated with prosecutors. Manns briefly returned to prison in 2008 for violating his probation, but vowed to a judge his days of trouble were behind him. This time, Manns, now 48, is set to be locked up until he’s into his 60s.

Manns’ criminal defense attorney said his client had difficulty finding work and Manns told the court this month that he was only buying the drugs in 2010 to help a cousin who was down on his luck – not to get back in the drug game. Getting back into legitimate society proves difficult for many ex-cons, especially when it comes to finding work in an economy with double-digit unemployment. Prosecutors know that, too, and police are often on the lookout for people to slip from their conditions of release.

Our Jacksonville criminal defense law firm has represented hundreds of people arrested for drug crimes in Northeast Florida, and countless others charged with violating probation. We examine all facets of the case to help you make the best decision going forward.

If you need a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County Drug Crimes Lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.