SARASOTA -- A Bradenton man indicted on federal weapons and drug charges faces up to life in prison if convicted as an "armed career criminal," according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.
David Lawrence, 26, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and five counts of possessing with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine, according to a news release.
The charges stem from Lawrence's arrest during SCSO's Operation Red Flag and a joint investigation by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"Because Lawrence's criminal history appears to qualify him as an armed career criminal, he faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years to life in federal prison for the firearms possession and a mandatory minimum of 10 years for the narcotics offense," the release states.
In announcing Lawrence's arrest last month, Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight said Lawrence had 51 prior felony arrests and 40 for misdemeanors but had never been to state prison.
Also indicted: Mark Alan Finehout, 37, of Sarasota, for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted.
According to the indictment, Lawrence and Finehout are each charged with possessing a .40 caliber Taurus pistol on April 17. Lawrence is also charged with possessing an SKS rifle April 18, and possessing with the intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine April 19, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Tampa.
"These convicted felons were not only mocking the system locally but they were violating federal weapons laws," Knight said. "Sarasota County is safer today, because of the diligence of our deputies and the partnerships we have forged with state and federal law enforcement agencies."
The federal case is being prosecuted as a part of the U.S. Department of Justice "Project Safe Neighborhoods" program targeting felons who possess guns.