DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
A. Lee Bentley, III
, United States Attorney
Contact: William Daniels

Sarasota Felon Sentenced To More Than 9 Years For Possessing Firearm

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge James S. Moody today sentenced Michael T. Rivers (32, Sarasota) to 9 years and 7 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Rivers pleaded guilty to the offense on October 23, 2013.

          According to court documents, after executing a search warrant at Rivers’s residence, law enforcement officers found two loaded firearms, ammunition, and drug paraphernalia inside the residence. Laboratory analysis revealed that one of the firearms found in the search had a fingerprint on it, belonging to Rivers. At the time of the offense, Rivers had been previously convicted of multiple felonies, including home invasion robbery and battery on a corrections officer. Therefore, he was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.

          This case was investigated by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Sarasota Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer L. Peresie.

This is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” program - a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy.  United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, along with Julie Leon, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, is coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort here in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. It is also a part of ATF’s Frontline strategy to reduce violent crime and improve the quality of life in communities where law enforcement efforts are focused.


Tampa Field Division