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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 29, 2016

Federal Prosecutions Remove Over 100 Firearms From Central Florida Over The Last Six Months

Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces today that federal prosecutions over the past six months in Orlando have removed more than 100 firearms from Central Florida communities. Since 2001, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Florida has participated in the national strategy to reduce gun-violence in communities – “Project Safe Neighborhoods.”  The strategy involves the coordination and cooperation with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners. To increase the prosecutorial resources necessary to address firearms and violent crime cases, the United States Attorney’s Office, Orlando Division, established a “Gun Unit” earlier this year. The purpose of the Gun Unit is to collaborate regularly with local, state, and federal partners to review and identify firearms and violent crime cases for federal prosecution. 

Since June 1, 2016, the Orlando Division has charged over 40 individuals with firearms or violent crime offenses, reflecting an increase of more than 125% for the same period last year. The charges in those cases vary by defendant, but include possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking or crime of violence, possession of a stolen firearm, bank robbery, and Hobbs Act robbery. More than 100 firearms have been seized or recovered from those charged (see attachment)

U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III stated, "Over the past six months, we have dedicated additional resources to the Orlando Division to prosecute violent crime and firearms cases. I would like to commend our local, state, and federal partners who have investigated those cases and we pledge to continue working with them to aggressively prosecute those individuals who illegally possess and use firearms in our communities.” In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has worked closely with its community partners to develop youth prevention, intervention, and outreach strategies to address the various issues associated with gun violence.

The cases summarized in the attachment were investigated by the Apopka Police Department, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, the Casselberry Police Department, the Cocoa Police Department, the Daytona Beach Police Department, the Lake Mary Police Department, the Melbourne Police Department, the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Orlando Police Department, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, the Palm Bay Police Department, the Sanford Police Department, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, the St. Cloud Police Department, the Titusville Police Department, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, the Winter Park Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshal’s Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

These cases are being prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program – a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy. United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, along with Daryl R. McCrary, 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. State cases are being coordinated and prosecuted by the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit (Brevard County), the Ninth Judicial Circuit (Orange and Osceola Counties), and the Seventh Judicial Circuit (Volusia County).

The federal cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys E. Jackson Boggs, Jr., Chauncey Bratt, Emily C. L. Chang, Vincent S. Chiu, Tiffany L. Cummins, Christina R. Downes, Nathan Hill, Embry Kidd, Andrew C. Searle, Ilianys Rivera Miranda, Shawn P. Napier, Alejandro Salicrup, Sean Shecter, and Kara Wick.

An indictment or criminal complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

For more information about the cases profiled in this release and other Project Safe Neighborhood cases throughout the Middle District of Florida, please visit our website. For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, please visit www.psn.gov.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Updated December 29, 2016