The Miami man believed to have supplied music stars Lil’ Wayne and Chris Brown with painkiller-spiked soda drinks is headed to prison for 30 years.
A federal judge sentenced Harrison Garcia, also known as Cuban Harry, four months after jurors convicted him of armed drug trafficking.
U.S. Judge Patricia Seitz said Garcia’s crimes were serious against the backdrop of a national drug epidemic that “dehumanizes and enslaves” addicts. “It is the kind of conduct that is very much a scourge on our community,” Seitz said.
Garcia, 27, remained calmed during Friday’s brief sentencing in federal court.
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“I want to briefly apologize to my parents and your honor,” Garcia said. “Hopefully, I learn from this.”
Garcia, who’s story was first chronicled in the Miami Herald in December, was believed by the feds to have supplied South Florida’s hip-hop scene with the potent drink known as “lean” while jet setting around the world with singer Chris Brown and shooting rap videos with Lil’ Wayne.
Federal agents say Garcia was a big supplier of “lean,” or “sizzurp,” a powerful brew of soda and prescription-strength syrup of promethazine with codeine. Variations of the “lean” drink have been popular in hip-hop imagery and songs over the past decade, with rappers such as Lil’ Wayne, Young Thug and Future dropping odes to the concoction.
Garcia’s Instagram page — which has over 30,000 followers — portrayed a rap-video lifestyle; he proudly showed off garish gold chains and wads of cash, jewel-encrusted teeth and many tattoos, including one of the fictional drug kingpin Scarface wielding an assault rifle.
He was never subtle about his love of lean. He called himself “Muhammad_a_Lean” and the “CEO of Purple Drank,” sported a diamond-encrusted pendant of a styrofoam cup and posted many photos of soda and cough syrup.
Garcia insisted he was nothing more than a junkie, not a dealer, who tried to play the part of dope peddler on social media to build street cred for his hip-hop career. “I had an image to portray, to boost up my followers,” Garcia testified at a pre-trial hearing in January. “I guess it’s just the music industry.”
Over four days of testimony at his April trial, jurors heard that Garcia admitted he sold “large amounts of narcotics” to rapper Lil Wayne, and received a $15,000 payment from singer Chris Brown for drugs, including lean.
Jurors viewed undercover videos of two drug deals Garcia allegedly completed with two confidential informants posing as buyers. They also saw a slew of Instagram photos of Garcia showing off an arsenal of guns, five of which were seized by U.S. Homeland Security Investigation agents.
Garcia is also facing state racketeering charges in Broward, where authorities say he paid a crew of young men to bust into dozens of Walgreens and CVS stores to steal the pricey bottles of promethazine with codeine syrup.
His lawyer in the federal case, Gus Lage, said his team will appeal the sentence.
“Given that Harrison went to trial, refused to cooperate and that draconian minimum mandatory sentences exist which made 30 years and one day the lowest sentence that could be imposed under the circumstances, we were pleased that the court and the government agreed to the imposition of the lowest sentence available,” Lage said.