Commuting crack dealer sentenced in Jacksonville

Dealer drove over 20 miles each way to operate 'crack' houses, records show

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A drug dealer sentenced to five years in prison made enough money slinging crack in Northwest Jacksonville that he could afford to live in an affluent Jacksonville suburb, court records show.

Maurice Mervin, 41, kept operating the crack houses in Northwest Jacksonville, though, commuting more than 20 miles each way daily to manage and supply the houses operated by his underlings, prosecutors said.

Mervin pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute crack cocaine and to a gun charge. In addition to his five-year sentence, he was ordered to forfeit a Dodge Challenger he used in his drug business.

According to court documents, Mervin lived with his family in the Bartram Park/Bartram Springs area of southern Duval County.

According to Mervin's plea agreement, in late 2015, a confidential informant working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives fingered Mervin as the leader of a crack cocaine distribution operation.

Agents had the informant, and a second informant, making drug buys at homes in Northwest Jacksonville.

At one point, investigators got a warrant to put a tracking device on Mervin’s car. During a traffic stop for window tint, after Mervin left one of the homes, they put the device on his car and tracked it to a home in the Bartram Park/Bartram Springs area. They discovered that he was driving every day from his home there to the drug homes, court documents show.

Investigators got a search warrant for Mervin's Bartram area house in May 2016, and found a loaded firearm, over 100 rounds of ammunition and equipment and chemicals used to “cook” crack cocaine.  

Mervin had a prior felony conviction for possession of cocaine in 1996 and was not legally allowed to have a gun or ammo, prompting a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Mervin pleaded guilty in July 2016 but wasn't sentenced until this month, apparently because he was cooperating in the case of a co-conspirator.