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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ocala Man Facing 15 Years To Life In Federal Prison For Possession Of A Firearm And Ammunition

Ocala, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Roberto Jesus Acosta (54, Cuba) yesterday pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition affecting interstate commerce by a convicted felon. Acosta faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years, up to life in federal prison for the offense. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to court documents, members of the Ocala Police Department executed a search warrant at Acosta's apartment on February 2, 2013, after learning that Acosta had just purchased a 50-round box of ammunition at a local retailer. Video footage from the business showed Acosta buying the box of .25 caliber ammunition earlier that same day. During the search of the apartment, officers recovered the box of ammunition, a .25 caliber handgun and three other rounds of ammunition. The box of ammunition had been secreted inside of an air conditioning unit. When interviewed by the officers, Acosta admitted that he had purchased the box of ammunition "for a neighbor."

Acosta has prior state convictions for manslaughter, burglary, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. As a previously convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law. Furthermore, because Acosta's prior criminal record includes several crimes of violence, he qualifies for enhanced sentencing as an Armed Career Criminal under federal law.
This case was jointly investigated by the Ocala Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.

It is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” program - a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy. United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill, along with Julie Torres, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, is coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort here in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

Updated January 26, 2015