DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida

For Immediate Release

Friday, March 26, 2021
Karin Hoppmann (Acting)
, United States Attorney
Contact: William Daniels

Armed Career Criminal Pleads Guilty to Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition

Ocala, Florida – Johnny Lee Smith (43, Pensacola) today pleaded guilty to one count of a superseding indictment charging him with possession of a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon. He faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years, and up to life, in federal prison.

Smith had been indicted on September 30, 2020.

According to the facts presented in court, on August 29, 2020, deputies from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop on Smith’s car and saw a loaded .22 caliber revolver on the front passenger seat of the car. The deputies arrested Smith and recovered an additional .22 caliber bullet from his pocket. Smith has 15 prior state felony convictions, including numerous convictions for sale of cocaine. Because of these felony convictions, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law. 

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys William S. Hamilton and Charles Helm.

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, Acting U.S. Attorney Karin Hoppmann coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

Tampa Field Division