‘This isn’t Portland or San Francisco’: Waco drug dealer sentenced to 36 years in prison

Story by Tommy Witherspoon

WACO, Texas (KWTX) – A Waco parolee who authorities say was working his way up to becoming an upper mid-level drug dealer was sentenced to 36 years in prison Monday.

Kamari Kenyatti Harp, 38, a three-time convicted felon, was set to stand trial Monday in Waco’s 54th State District Court before he decided to accept a plea offer from prosecutors.

Harp pleaded guilty to a superseding indictment charging him as a habitual criminal with possession of eutylone, a stimulant classified as a designer drug.

The superseding indictment took the place of previous indictments that charged Harp as a habitual criminal with possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, possession of heroin with intent to deliver, and possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, all first-degree felonies punishable by a minimum of 25 years up to life in prison.

Harp also was indicted for aggravated assault, and assault family violence with a prior on allegations he held a knife to the throat of a woman he was dating in September 2022.

Harp currently is on parole on a 20-year sentence he received in 2016 for possession of cocaine, according to court records. He also has a felony conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon in 2013.

McLennan County District Attorney Josh Tetens said Waco is a safer place now that Harp will be in prison.

“Drug dealers will be punished harshly by our office,” Tetens said. “This isn’t Portland or San Francisco, and we’re committed to stopping those perpetuating violence through drugs.”

Prosecutors Duncan Widmann and Ralph Strother, a retired state district judge, were set Monday to try the case before Harp accepted the plea offer.

“While we came to court fully prepared to present this case to a jury, we are satisfied that we have reached an agreement that will send a message that drug dealers in our community can look forward to lengthy prison sentences,” Widmann said.

Court records also show that Harp has 12 misdemeanor convictions for a variety of offenses dating back to when he was a juvenile offender in 1999. He also has pending assault family violence with a prior, and aggravated assault cases that were dismissed as part of his plea agreement.

Harp’s attorney, Robert Callahan, said the case was difficult.

“Sometimes a zealous defense means standing alongside another person – whose life is quite different than our own – to help them make wise decisions in bad circumstances,” Callahan said. “This was a hard case. But we know Kamari made the best decision possible with the evidence at hand.”

Harp will be given credit for the 227 days he spent in the McLennan County Jail. He must serve a quarter of his 36-year sentence before he can seek parole.

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