For Immediate Release
Felon with Firearm Who Fled from Citrus County Deputies Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison
Ocala, Florida – United States District Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr. has sentenced Eric Lee Sputa (33, Homosassa) to four years in federal prison for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Sputa had pleaded guilty on August 14, 2020.
According to court documents, on May 26, 2020, a detective with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office observed Sputa on a motorcycle, with no license plate, driving at a high rate of speed. Sputa evaded the detective by speeding away and refusing to stop. Approximately one hour later, Sputa was spotted again and attempted to flee a second time. Sputa fled down a dead end street and was blocked by the pursuing detective. Sputa tried to pass the detective, and in doing so, crashed his motorcycle into a fence and the detective’s patrol car, thereby disabling the motorcycle.
At the time of the incident, Sputa possessed 1.5 grams of methamphetamine and a loaded .25 caliber pistol. Sputa has multiple felony convictions, the most recent occurring in 2019. As a convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law. Sputa admitted to fleeing because he did not want to go back to jail.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael P. Felicetta.
This is another case prosecuted as part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. For more information on Project Guardian visit www.justice.gov/projectguardian.