DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 31, 2018
Maria Chapa Lopez
, United States Attorney
Contact: William Daniels

Convicted Felon Sentenced to Prison for Possession of High-Capacity Semi Automatic Firearm

Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Harvey E. Schlesinger has sentenced Sheldon Tarence Wright (27, Savannah, GA) to 46 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. He pleaded guilty on February 21, 2018.

According to court documents, on March 3, 2011, Wright was convicted in Chatham County, Georgia, of the felony offenses of aggravated assault, robbery, and possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, to be followed by ten years of probation. On July 10, 2017, he was released on parole after serving about eight and a half years of the sentence.

On October 22, 2017, officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office responded to a citizen complaint regarding suspected illegal activity in the area of a motel on Philips Highway. One of the officers approached a vehicle in the parking lot and spoke to the driver and Wright, who was in the front passenger seat. During this encounter, the officer saw the butt of a gun sticking out from under the front of the passenger seat.

After finding the gun, the officers detained both the driver and Wright. After being advised of his constitutional rights, Wright told the officers that the gun was his. The driver also told the officers that the gun belonged to Wright. The firearm was later determined to be a semi-automatic .22 caliber pistol with a high-capacity magazine loaded with 30 rounds of ammunition. As a previously convicted felon, Wright was 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 Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arnold B. Corsmeier.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. In October 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to develop districtwide crime reduction strategies, incorporating the lessons learned since the program’s inception in 2001. 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.

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Field Division: Tampa Field Division