For Immediate Release
Armed Career Criminal Pleads Guilty to Possessing a Firearm and Ammunition
Ocala, Florida – Shelley Devaughn Cook (42, Ocala) today pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, and up to life, in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Cook had been indicted on August 19, 2019.
According to the facts presented in court, detectives from the City of Ocala Police Department observed Cook with an open alcoholic beverage container in a public area, in violation of a city ordinance. Cook ignored repeated requests from the detectives to pour out his drink, then fled on foot as the detectives approached him. Once apprehended, the detectives discovered a loaded semi-automatic pistol in Cook’s waistband. Cook also had quantities of MDMA (ecstasy), heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana in his possession.
Cook has eight prior state felony convictions, including robbery with a deadly weapon (firearm), aggravated battery, felony battery, fleeing and eluding law enforcement, and illegal drug possession, and is therefore prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Ocala Police Department. It is being 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.