Jacksonville, FL – U.S. District Judge Marcia M. Howard has sentenced Benjamin Hank Ratliff (37, Lake City) to 15 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. The court also ordered Ratliff to forfeit a 2011 Lexus, which he had used to facilitate the offense.
Ratliff had pleaded guilty on June 9, 2020.
According to court documents, between September 2017 and October 2018, Ratliff, along with his co-defendants, conspired to distribute methamphetamine in Lake City. Ratliff hid methamphetamine near stop signs or at different locations on side roads. His distributors and/or customers then retrieved the drugs and left money, in exchange, at the same location – sometimes hidden in a shoe or diaper. As part of their investigation, agents seized 429.823 grams of actual methamphetamine attributable to Ratliff.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and the Lake City Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Beatriz Gonzalez.