DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Thursday, July 27, 2017
W. Stephen Muldrow
, United States Attorney
Contact: William Daniels

Sarasota Armed Career Criminal Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison


Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington has sentenced Johnny Dawson (38, Sarasota) to 15 years in federal prison for possessing a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon. The Court also ordered him to forfeit the firearm and ammunition seized during his arrest.


Dawson pleaded guilty on April 26, 2017.


According to court documents, on August 7, 2016, law enforcement officers responded to a call reporting an individual who had a firearm wrapped inside of a t-shirt. The responding officer observed Dawson walking away, holding a t-shirt. As the officer approached, Dawson moved the shirt behind his back, and the officer could see the outline of a firearm within the shirt. Dawson then put the shirt down and fled. The officer apprehended Dawson, seized the shirt, and recovered a loaded gun wrapped inside with the hammer cocked back. Dawson later admitted to possessing the loaded firearm. At the time of the offense, Dawson had multiple prior felony convictions and therefore is prohibited from carrying a firearm or ammunition under federal law.


This case was jointly investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Sarasota Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kaitlin R. O’Donnell.


This is another case prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program - a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy. Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow, along with Daryl McCrary, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, are coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort here in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.



Tampa Field Division