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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
Friday, July 21, 2023

Brooksville Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison for Possessing Firearm as an Armed Career Criminal

Ocala, Florida – Senior United States District Judge John Antoon II has sentenced Wayne Allen Phillips, Jr. (45, Brooksville) to 15 years in federal prison for possession of a firearm and ammunition by a previously convicted felon. Phillips was found guilty after a trial on April 11, 2023.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, 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. A search of his person revealed a revolver loaded with five rounds of ammunition in his pants pocket. Phillips has numerous previous state felony convictions, including shooting into an occupied building, strongarm robbery, sale of cocaine, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement. As a previously convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law. Moreover, Phillips’s prior felony convictions qualified him for a sentencing enhancement as an Armed Career Criminal.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. It was 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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