DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Friday, January 16, 2015
A. Lee Bentley, III
, United States Attorney
Contact: William Daniels

Sarasota Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison for Unlawfully Possessing a Firearm

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced Steven Phelps (40, Sarasota) to 15 years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty on October 24, 2014.

According to court documents, On June 27, 2014, detectives from the Sarasota Police Department executed a search warrant at Phelps’s home. During the search, 28 individually wrapped baggies of cocaine, an electronic scale, and a Davis Industries .32 caliber pistol were recovered. At the time of the search, Phelps was a convicted felon, and therefore prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.

This case was jointly investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Explosives and the Sarasota Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carlton C. Gammons.

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 Regina Lombardo, 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 another example of ATF’s Frontline Strategy to impact violent crime within our communities.

Tampa Field Division