Press release from U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida
Alexander Clifford Nelms, 43, and Jorvin Jermaine Cockran, 36, both of Miami, Florida, were convicted and sentenced to ten years in federal prison for their crimes. Nelms pled guilty to one count of possessing with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine on July 27, 2021, and was sentenced on November 15, 2021. Cockran was convicted at trial on February 11, 2022, of one count of possessing with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and sentenced this week. The sentences were announced by Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
“Concerted law enforcement partnerships like the Alachua County Drug Task Force serve a vital role in protecting our communities from armed drug traffickers,” said U.S. Attorney Coody. “These brave law enforcement officers place their lives in danger each day to remove firearms and addictive drugs from our streets. We remain vigilant to hold these criminals accountable.”
On January 20, 2021, a Gainesville Police Department officer assigned to the then Gainesville-Alachua County Drug Task Force’s Domestic Highway Enforcement Team conducted a traffic stop on a minivan for speeding. Nelms was identified as the driver, and Cockran was the front seat passenger. The pair were traveling northbound on I-75 from Miami, Florida. While conducting his traffic enforcement duties, the officer detected the odor of cannabis coming from the vehicle and received conflicting information from the subjects as to their travel plans. An Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Deputy who supervised the Domestic Highway Enforcement team arrived on scene as backup and deployed his narcotics detection canine partner to conduct an open-air sniff of the minivan. When the canine alerted to the odor of narcotics, officers detained Nelms and Cockran in the rear of a patrol vehicle and searched the minivan, ultimately locating one kilogram of cocaine in a gym bag between the driver and passenger seats, another two-ounce package of cocaine, some marijuana and THC cartridges, and two loaded firearms within ready reach and access of Cockran. Nelms attempted to claim the drugs while Cockran claimed the firearms, but conversation between the two of them in the rear of the patrol vehicle confirmed they were acting in concert to traffic in the cocaine.
“These sentences speak to the strength of the relationships we have with our local law enforcement partners as well as the dedication of the investigators, who work daily to ensure communities in northern Florida continue to be safe places to live,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Deanne L. Reuter. “We will continue our collaborative efforts with our partners to ensure those who seek to harm our communities are brought to justice.”
“By collaborating with our partners on the local, state, and federal level, we will continue to make Alachua County a safe and welcoming community for all,” said Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson, Jr. “If you want to commit crimes, we are going to work together at every level to make sure criminals are held accountable.”
Nelms had multiple prior felony convictions, to include a prior trafficking in Roxicodone in the State of Florida. Nelms’ 10 years’ imprisonment will be followed by eight years of supervised release, and Cockran’s 10 years’ imprisonment will be followed by five years of supervised release.
“We are proud to have the Domestic Highway Enforcement Task Force working every day to take violent criminals off our highways,” said Acting Gainesville Police Department Chief Lonnie Scott, Sr. “If you see one of these members on the highway, know that they are doing their best to keep our streets, community, and neighbors as safe as possible.”
This sentencing resulted from the collaborative work of the Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Chris Elsey.