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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
Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Brooksville Man Found Guilty of Possessing Firearm as an Armed Career Criminal

Ocala, Florida – Senior U.S. District Judge John Antoon II has found Wayne Allen Phillips, Jr. (45, Brooksville) guilty of one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a previously convicted felon. Phillips qualifies for an increased penalty under the Armed Career Criminal Act. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, up to life, in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 20, 2023. Phillips had been indicted on March 29, 2022.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial and throughout the prosecution, deputies from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office encountered Phillips while attempting to serve a warrant for his arrest on another matter. Phillips ran from the deputies but was apprehended after a brief foot chase. Phillips was searched incident to his arrest, and deputies located a revolver loaded with five rounds of ammunition in his pants pocket. As a previously convicted felon, Phillips is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William S. Hamilton.

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 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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