For Immediate Release
20-Time Convicted Felon Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison on Firearms Charge
Ocala, Florida – Senior United States District Judge James D. Whittemore has sentenced Willie Lee Lewis (48, Ocala) to 10 years in federal prison for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Lewis had pleaded guilty on March 12, 2019.
According to the plea agreement, on November 28, 2018, a City of Ocala police officer attempted to stop Lewis for a tag violation. Rather than pulling over, Lewis led the officer on a low-speed chase to his home where he discarded a loaded pistol, cocaine, and marijuana from the window of his van. Police recovered these items and arrested Lewis, who subsequently placed a recorded telephone call from the county jail in which he described the firearm and drugs that he had tried to discard.
At the time of the offense, Lewis had 20 prior state felony convictions, including multiple drug sales and illegal firearms offenses. He is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition under federal law.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the City of Ocala Police Department jointly investigated this case. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.
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.