For Immediate Release
Federal Jury Convicts Lakeland Man Who Battered Police Officers
Tampa, Florida – A federal jury has found Felix Antequera Rivera, Jr. (33, Lakeland) guilty of possessing a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon. He faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years, and up to life, in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 10, 2020.
Rivera was indicted on July 11, 2018.
According to evidence presented at trial, in the late evening of June 15, 2018, officers from the Lakeland Police Department were patrolling an apartment complex when they observed Rivera, who appeared to have a large object concealed at his waistband. When the officers approached Rivera, he turned, walked in the opposite direction, and attempted to enter a friend’s apartment. Rivera then tried to slip out of a backpack that he was wearing and attempted to flee. A prolonged struggle involving Rivera and four police officers ensued, during which Rivera reached for a firearm in his pants, struck a police officer in the head with handcuffs, and grabbed at the officers’ firearms and tasers. Officers eventually seized from Rivera a Sig Sauer pistol that was loaded with 11 rounds.
At the time of the incident, Rivera was a convicted felon on probation, with a long and violent criminal history, including armed robbery with a firearm, felony battery, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. As a convicted felon, 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 Lakeland Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Murray.
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.