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Press Release

Naples Felon Pleads Guilty To Unlawfully Possessing Firearm In Furtherance Of Drug Trafficking Crimes

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

Fort Myers, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Giovanni Francois (23, Naples) has pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon, possessing with the intent to distribute fentanyl and MDMA, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes. Francois faces up to 10 years in federal prison for possessing the firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon, and up to 20 years’ imprisonment for possessing with the intent to distribute MDMA and fentanyl. He faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 5 years, up to life, in federal prison for possessing the firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. A sentencing date has not been scheduled yet.

According to court documents, in January 2022, a deputy from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office initiated a traffic stop for routine traffic violations on a vehicle in which Francois was a passenger. After the lights and sirens were activated, the driver continued driving without pulling over. During that time, Francois, a convicted felon, threw items from the car two different times. The first time, Francois discarded a white and yellow bag containing various items including a chamber-loaded 9mm pistol and a large clear bag containing multiple empty packages consistent with narcotics sales. The second time, Francois discarded a rectangular box containing various types and quantities of drugs, including 33 units of suspected MDMA, more than 28 grams of cocaine, and a bag of powder containing suspected fentanyl. Inside the car’s rear floorboard, on the passenger side, deputies located a plastic bottle with additional suspected fentanyl powder and two small clear plastic baggies containing cocaine base.

This case was investigated by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Morgan.

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.

Updated February 6, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses