Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced Xavier Jones (27, Clearwater) to 10 years in federal prison for two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. He was also sentenced to 3 years of supervised release. The court ordered Jones to forfeit a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and ammunition used in the offense. Jones had pleaded guilty on April 25, 2022.
According to court documents, Jones was convicted of two cocaine related felony drug crimes in 2017, making him unable to legally possess a firearm or ammunition. However, on December 20, 2020, Jones was captured on surveillance video outside a Clearwater convenience store drawing a pistol and shooting at someone in a car across the street. Jones fled the shooting scene before police arrived but left multiple .40 caliber shell casings behind, which were traced back to him. Ten days later, Jones was arrested in an unrelated case after fleeing from police. During that incident, Jones was found to be in possession of a different loaded pistol, this time, in a backpack next to some marijuana.
Jones was again found in possession of yet another loaded pistol when he was in a car that was stopped by police in March of 2021 for traffic offenses. Jones was a passenger in that car, along with several children. A search of the car found the pistol, which was fully loaded and equipped with a laser sight, under the seat in front of Jones. While Jones denied knowing about that pistol, his DNA was found on the gun.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Clearwater Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Craig Gestring and Michael Gordon.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.