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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts St. Petersburg Armed Career Criminal

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that a federal jury has found Devaris Lemain Simmons (33, St. Petersburg) guilty of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. The jury further found that Simmons is an Armed Career Criminal after having committed three prior serious drug offenses. Simmons faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, on March 23, 2023, officers with the St. Petersburg Police Department approached an idling vehicle registered to Simmons and smelled the odor of marijuana emanating from inside. When Simmons opened the vehicle, officers observed green leaf-like particles inside and conducted a search. During the search officers located a Taurus PT-111 Millennium Pro 9mm semi-automatic pistol loaded with five rounds of ammunition stored in the center console. A DNA swab of the grip and trigger of the firearm matched the DNA of Simmons.

Testimony and evidence presented at trial also established that Simmons had sold cocaine on three separate occasions in 2014 to an undercover officer with the St. Petersburg Police Department. The jury found that the above three offenses were committed on occasions separate from one another.  

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the St. Petersburg Police Department, and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David W.A. Chee.

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 out 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 first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Updated July 9, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses