For Immediate Release
United States Attorney Recognizes the Tampa Police Department’s Efforts in Fighting Violent Crime
Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced today the results of the United States Attorney’s Office’s ongoing efforts to fight violent crime through its partnership with the Tampa Police Department (TPD). During 2022, federal prosecutors and TPD worked together to charge and prosecute 91 defendants for federal crimes, including firearms and drug offenses. In total, these prosecutions removed 74 firearms from our streets. The prosecutions supported by TPD include:
- Robles Park Criminal Enterprise - The prosecution of the “Robles Park” criminal enterprise involved members and associates who engaged in murder, assault, intimidation, narcotics trafficking, unemployment insurance fraud, identity theft, obstruction of justice, and other crimes. Among other acts of violence, on July 19, 2020, Robles Park members committed a shooting outside the Truth Lounge in Tampa, starting a shootout that left eight people injured, including minors. In retaliation for the Truth Lounge shooting, rival gang members initiated an armed confrontation with members of the Robles Park organization in the parking lot of the International Plaza retail establishment in Tampa near several witnesses. The ensuing gun fight left behind 25 spent shell casings and several damaged vehicles. As a result, four individuals associated with the Robles Park enterprise have been charged with federal firearms and violent offenses; three of those individuals have pleaded guilty.
- United States vs. Jeffrey Davis and Tyee Spike – Davis and Spike received prison sentences of 24 years and 26 years and 3 months, respectively, following their convictions. According to court documents, Davis and Spike committed a series of commercial armed robberies in Tampa, Fishhawk, and Riverview. They brandished firearms during each of the robberies. During one of the robberies, Spike shot a victim in the stomach.
- United States vs. Antonio Phillips – Phillips received a sentence of 8 years in prison for possessing a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon. On December 1, 2020, in Tampa, Phillips and others conducted a drive-by shooting on an occupied vehicle. After the shooting, law enforcement air support tracked Phillips’ vehicle, which had fled the scene. Video surveillance captured muzzle flashes coming from the passenger side of the car where Phillips was sitting. Numerous bullet holes were observed on the other vehicle. Phillips and others fled from their car, discarded weapons, and jumped over fences and across yards before they were ultimately apprehended. Law enforcement recovered 3 guns, a 50-round drum-style magazine, and trigger-mounted laser.
- United States vs. Javeon Jacobs – A court sentenced Javeon Jacobs to 21 years’ imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to three counts of brandishing a firearm while committing carjackings. According to court documents, Jacobs committed three separate carjackings. In one of the carjackings, Jacobs kidnapped two victims, one of whom he also pistol-whipped.
- United States vs. Natwan Callaway – On January 30,2021, officers responded to reports of shots being fired and observed two men running away from the scene. Natwan Callaway, who was standing next to another male, was observed with the imprint of a firearm and extended magazine on his front right hip and apprehended with an empty holster. Nearby, officers found two loaded semi-automatic 9 mm pistols. Ammunition from one of the pistols (Glock 17 9mm) matched that used in a homicide in October 2020, an aggravated battery in December 2020, and an aggravated assault in January 2021, all in Tampa. Callaway’s DNA was found on that pistol. In May 2021, officers found several Instagram videos of Callaway possessing and utilizing several firearms, many of which were loaded. Callaway pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a felon on December 13, 2022. He faces a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to doing our part to reduce violent crime,” said U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg. “That goal cannot be accomplished without the hard work and dedication of our law enforcement partners. In 2022, the Tampa Police Department (TPD) has played a critical role in investigating and prosecuting violent crimes. We look forward to continuing to work with TPD and our other local and federal law enforcement partners to further our goal of making the Tampa Bay area a safer place for its citizens.”
“Violent crime, in any form, negatively affects the quality of life of every person impacted, whether directly or indirectly,” said Interim Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw. “Every community member has the absolute right to feel safe in their homes and in their neighborhoods. The Tampa Police Department will continue to work alongside our federal, state, and local partners in our tireless efforts to hold those who would harm or threaten the public accountable, prosecute them to the full extent of the law, and make every community member feel safe in our city.”
These cases were investigated by the Tampa Police Department, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Marshals Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. They are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Risha Asokan, Samantha Beckman, David Chee, Charlie Connally, Tiffany Fields, Craig Gestring, Michael Gordon, Michael Kenneth, Maria Guzman, Daniel Marcet, Christopher Murray, Samantha Newman, Diego Novaes, James Preston, Candace Rich, Michael Sinacore, Ilyssa Spergel, David Sullivan, Callan Albritton, and Jay Trezevant.
The majority of these cases are a part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.