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Crack dealer gets six months in jail

An 18-year-old Crystal River man was sentenced to jail and probation Monday on a charge of selling crack cocaine. Henry Ford Jr. must serve six months in the Citrus County Jail, three years' probation and complete a course for drug offenders, Circuit Judge John Thurman ruled.

Ford pleaded no contest, which means he did not admit or deny guilt.

He was one of eight men arrested in early September as part of Operation Rock Pile, a periodic sweep for drug offenders. Others charged in that operation have cases pending before Thurman.

In other court news Monday, Thurman significantly lowered the amount of bail for Kevin Lee Coleman, a 17-year-old Inverness teen accused of keeping drugs and stolen property in his home.

The judge set bail at $1,000 for Coleman's six felony counts. Thurman said that if Coleman posts bail and is released, he must submit to electronic monitoring and promise to attend high school.

Defense attorney Kenneth Travis said the evidence against Coleman is shaky. He added that Coleman is unlikely to skip any subsequent court hearings.

"He's not going anywhere. His great-grandmother lives in town," Travis told Thurman in court.

Authorities say Coleman recruited other teens to steal property and then give it to him in exchange for drugs, according to reports filed by the Citrus County Sheriff's Office.

Coleman and his father, Hubert Coleman, were arrested Sept. 22 after deputies searched their home and found a stolen videocassette recorder and marijuana plants, the reports say. Hubert Coleman, who faces similar charges, was released from jail after posting $15,000 bail.

County Judge Gary Graham previously set bail at a combined $110,000 for Kevin Coleman, citing the youth's criminal record and the nature of the charges. Thurman reduced that amount last week, then cut it further on Monday.