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Press Release

Ocala Felon Sentenced To 15 Years In Federal Prison For Possession Of A Firearm And Ammunition

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

Ocala, Florida - Senior United States District Judge Wm. Terrell Hodges today sentenced Roberto Jesus Acosta (54, Cuba) to 15 years in federal prison for possession of a firearm and ammunition affecting interstate commerce by a convicted felon. Acosta pleaded guilty on April 24, 2013.

According to court documents, members of the Ocala Police Department executed a search warrant at Acosta's apartment on February 2, 2013, after learning that Acosta had just purchased a 50-round box of ammunition at a local retailer. Video footage from the business showed Acosta buying the box of .25 caliber ammunition earlier that day. During the search of the apartment, officers recovered the box of ammunition, a .25 caliber handgun and three other rounds of ammunition. The box of ammunition had been hidden inside of an air conditioning unit. When interviewed by the officers, Acosta admitted that he had purchased the box of ammunition "for a neighbor."

Acosta has prior state convictions for manslaughter, burglary, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. As a previously convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law. Furthermore, because Acosta's prior criminal record included several crimes of violence, he qualified for enhanced sentencing as an Armed Career Criminal under federal law.

This case jointly was investigated by the Ocala Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.

This is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” program - a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy. Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, along with Julie Torres, 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.

Updated January 26, 2015