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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

Fort Myers Felon Sentenced to Federal Prison for Unlawfully Possessing Loaded Firearm

FORT MYERS, Fla. — U.S. District Judge Sheri Polster Chappell has sentenced Christopher Jorge Ponce, 37, of Naples, to six years and 10 months in federal prison for possessing a firearm as a previously convicted felon. The court also ordered Ponce to forfeit the firearm and ammunition possessed during the offense. Ponce pleaded guilty on Nov. 22, 2023.

According to court records, on Dec. 30, 2022, a Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to a gas station in Lehigh Acres and observed what appeared to be a sleeping man sitting in the driver’s seat of vehicle parked at a gas pump with a six-inch long clear glass pipe and lighter sitting in his lap. The male was later identified as Christopher Ponce, and when his vehicle was searched, deputies found quantities of methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine and a loaded Smith and Wesson firearm which was linked to Ponce. As a convicted felon who previously served time in federal prison for a firearms offense, Ponce is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.;

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Fort Myers Police Department and Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Simon R. Eth.

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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