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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
For Immediate Release
Roger B. Handberg, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Convicted Felon Indicted for Distribution of Cocaine and Possession of a Firearm

Tampa, Fla. - United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the return of an indictment charging Avery Jones-Neal (28, Dunedin) with three counts of distribution of cocaine, one count of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute it, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. If convicted of the narcotics offenses, Jones-Neal faces up to 20 years in prison on each count. If convicted of the firearm offense, Jones-Neal faces up a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years, up to life, federal prison.

According to the indictment, on July 25, 26, and 31, 2023, Jones-Neal distributed cocaine, and on August 17, 2023, Jones-Neal possessed cocaine with the intent to distribute it. The indictment also alleges that on July 26, 2023, Jones-Neal possessed a Walther, model Uzi, .22 caliber pistol. Jones-Neal has five prior felony including sale or delivery of cocaine on two separate occasions, possession of cocaine on two separate occasions, and sale of alprazolam. As a convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.

This case was investigated by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Clearwater Police Department. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Samantha Newman.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

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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