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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
Roger B. Handberg, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Monday, March 11, 2024

Bradenton Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Possessing a Firearm

TAMPA, Fla. — U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Dovontate James Wright, 26, of Bradenton, has pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Wright faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to court documents, on Sept. 2, 2022, Wright was the front seat passenger of a silver Nissan Altima driving in the wrong direction on a one-way road in Sarasota. Sarasota Police Department officers stopped the vehicle and Wright fled on foot into a discount auto parts store. Inside the store, Wright ran behind the service counter, into the back of the store, where he tripped and fell into a product bin when he attempted to pull an object from his waistband. The object was a fully loaded Smith and Wesson model 40C .40 caliber pistol with one round in the chamber.

In an interview with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Wright admitted to possessing the firearm and being a convicted felon. Wright had previously served three years in a Florida state prison for committing aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and grand theft of a motor vehicle. As such, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.

An analysis of the DNA recovered from the firearm matched Wright’s DNA.

This case was investigated by ATF and the Sarasota Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David W.A. Chee and Michael Kenneth.

This case is 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 of Justice 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.


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