You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Sixteen Saint Lucie County Residents Sentenced to Federal Prison on Firearms and Drug Trafficking Charges as Part of Project Safe Neighborhoods Violence Reduction Program

Since April of 2017, sixteen Fort Pierce residents have been convicted and sentenced to prison on various federal firearms and drug trafficking charges, as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods violence reduction program in South Florida.

Benjamin Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Ari C. Shapira, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Division; Ken J. Mascara, Sheriff, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office; Diane Hobley-Burney, Chief, Fort Pierce Police Department (FPPD); Amos Rojas, Jr., United States Marshal, United States Marshals Service, Southern District of Florida (USMS); Bruce Colton, State Attorney, Saint Lucie County Office of the State Attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit; and Danny Banks, Special Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Orlando Field Office, made the announcement.

The joint federal and state prosecution of the defendants, follows a two-year long investigation (“Operation Grand Slam”) into violent gang-related activity in Saint Lucie County. The investigation resulted in the conviction of 16 defendants on federal firearms and narcotics charges, the seizure of 70 firearms, and the recovery of more than 1 kilogram of cocaine, 3 ounces of heroin, and 300 grams of MDMA.   An additional 62 defendants are being prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office for the 19th Judicial District on felony charges, including: carrying a concealed firearm, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession with intent to distribute MDMA, burglary, and cruelty towards a child.

            The following defendants have been sentenced in U.S. District Court:

  1. James Allen Brown, Jr., 26, pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon (Case No. 18CR14003).  On June 19, 2018, he was sentenced to 94 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
  2. Sylvester Davis, 25, pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and possession with intent to distribute marijuana (Case No. 17CR14072).  On June 19, 2018, he was sentenced to 41 months in prison, to be followed by 2 years of supervised release.
  3. Damonta Vontarus O’Neal, 20, pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon (Case No. 18CR14005).  On June 19, 2018, he was sentenced to 77 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
  4. Travius Ruffin, 25, pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon (Case No. 18CR14004).  On June 7, 2018, he was sentenced to 96 months in prison, to be followed by 2 years of supervised release.
  5. Lloyd Cedric Coley, 28, pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon (Case No. 17CR14065).  On April 26, 2018, he was sentenced to 40 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
  6. Brian Gordon, 39, was convicted at trial by a Fort Pierce of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and  carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation, and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine (Case No. 16CR14064).  On January 26, 2018, Gordon was sentenced to 114 months in prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release (sentence concurrent to St. Lucie County matters).
  7. James Arthur Parker, Jr., 40, pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and less than 50 kilograms of marijuana and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Case No. 17CR14048) On December 20, 2017, he was sentenced to 120 months in prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release (sentence concurrent to other matters).
  8. Alexander Fuentes, 26, pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine (Case No. 17CR14029).  On October 13, 2017, he was sentenced to 78 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
  9. Kenvonte Javon Gaskin, 27, pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine; carrying a firearm during and in relation to and possession of a firearm in furtherance a drug trafficking crime; one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon; and two counts of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon (Case No. 17CR14051).  On October 3, 2017, Gaskin was sentenced to 90 months in prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release (sentence concurrent to St. Lucie County matters).
  10. Eugene Curry, Jr., 45, pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and heroin and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Case No. 17CR14030).  On August 17, 2017, he was sentenced to 96 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
  11. Morris Jones, Jr., 27, pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine (Case No. 16CR14063).  On June 26, 2017, he was sentenced to 51 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
  12. Cornelius Trevon Ivory, 20, pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine (Case No. 16CR14078).  On June 7, 2017, he was sentenced to 71 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
  13. Charles Brooks, 20, pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine (Case No. 16CR14040).  On May 18, 2017, he was sentenced to 24 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
  14. Kevrence Lavale Corde, 25, pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine (Case No. 16CR14078).  On May 4, 2017, he was sentenced to 84 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
  15. John Henry McGee IV, 24, pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon (Case No. 16CR14079).  On April 28, 2017, he was, and was sentenced to 10 months in prison, to be followed by 1 year of supervised release.
  16. Onel Nonnombre, 22, pled guilty to possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, in violation and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine (Case No. 16CR14088).  On April 27, 2017, he was sentenced to 72 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.

 

These cases are all the result of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

These cases were investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).  OCDETF is a multi-agency task force investigates armed drug traffickers as well as the gang violence that is generated by drug trafficking. PSN is a Department of Justice nationwide initiative that combines traditional law enforcement activities with community-based support and intervention programs.  The two primary goals of the PSN initiative are to reduce and prevent violent crimes and to help past offenders adjust and re-enter the community.  This program emphasizes and facilitates cooperative federal, state and local prosecution of firearm crimes, violent criminals, repeat violent offenders and gang related criminal activity.

Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of ATF, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, FPPD, USMS, and FDLE, in support of this operation.  Mr. Greenberg thanked the Office of the State Attorney 19th Judicial District for their partnership during the course of this investigation and resulting prosecutions.   These cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marton Gyires.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated July 3, 2018