DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, June 7, 2016
A. Lee Bentley, III
, United States Attorney
Contact: William Daniels

South Tampa Man Sentenced to more than Twelve Years for Gun Possession

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington has sentenced Vanshawn A. Haggins (28, Tampa) to 12 years and 7 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty on March 4, 2016.

According to court documents, law enforcement identified Haggins and his associates as convicted felons who were in possession of firearms. Many of the firearms Haggins and his roommate, Christopher Balfrey, possessed had been stolen from residences in the South Tampa area. On multiple occasions, law enforcement officers met with Haggins and Balfrey, where they purchased drugs and stolen firearms from them. While executing a federal search warrant at their residence, law enforcement seized three firearms, ammunition, powder cocaine, marijuana, and $2,636 in cash.

As a previously convicted felon, Haggins is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.

Balfrey previously pleaded guilty to narcotics and firearms offenses. He was sentenced on May 27, 2016, to 12 years and 7 months in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Tampa Police Department as part of a Violent Crime Initiative. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stacie B. Harris.

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.

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Field Division: Tampa Field Division