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Press Release

Jacksonville Couple Sentenced To Prison For Possessing Firearms And A Destructive Device

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

Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard has sentenced Robert Randall Deen (60, Jacksonville) and Shannon Jeanette Heller (42, Jacksonville) to three years and four months in federal prison, for possessing firearms while an unlawful user of a controlled substance (Deen), and possessing firearms as a convicted felon (Heller). Heller had pleaded guilty on January 24, 2019. Deen had pleaded guilty on March 12, 2019.

According to court documents, in late November 2018, Deen and Heller were residing in an apartment on Gate Parkway in Jacksonville. A confidential informant told an ATF agent that Deen had firearms to sell, including AR-type rifles. At the time, Deen had been referred to a felony drug court diversion program in Duval County following his arrest in October 2018 for possessing cocaine and a handgun.

On December 3 and 6, 2018, Heller, who was Deen’s long-time girlfriend, sold a total of three rifles and two pistols to the confidential informant, at Deen’s direction. At the time of the incident, Deen was a habitual drug user and Heller was a convicted felon. Therefore, both were prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law. 

On December 7, 2018, ATF executed a search warrant at the couple’s apartment and recovered two rifles, a pistol, a shotgun, and a flare launcher with bore adapters that converted it into a destructive device. Both Heller and Deen were arrested the same day. Heller admitted that she had traded two other firearms to drug dealers in order to settle drug debts.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Laura Cofer Taylor.

This is another case prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide, crime reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities. It involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts. In the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

Updated July 16, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods