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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, May 5, 2023

Gang Leader Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Possessing Firearms and Ammunition

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber has sentenced Micheal Hankerson (31, Poinciana) to six years in federal prison for possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon. As part of his sentence, the court also ordered Hankerson to forfeit firearms and ammunition. Hankerson had been found guilty on December 3, 2022.

According to court documents, in May 2022, investigators developed information that a known member of the Fruit Town Brims gang, who had been wanted on felony warrants from Alachua County for more than a month, was living in Hankerson’s residence in Poinciana. Hankerson was known to be a high-ranking member of the Fruit Town Brims gang.

On May 10, 2022, the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force entered the residence to arrest the fugitive. As they searched the house for the fugitive, they spotted a firearm with an attached large drum magazine in plain view in the master bedroom. Hankerson, who had previously been convicted of robbery and served a five-year prison sentence, is prohibited from possessing a firearm. The task force officers informed agents from the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) of their observations.

A firearm.

After obtaining a warrant to search Hankerson’s residence, FDLE investigators searched the house and found multiple firearms and various types of ammunition. The firearm that had been seen in the master bedroom, a CZ Scorpion Evo 3 semi-automatic with a 50-round drum magazine attached, was loaded with 50 rounds of 9mm ammunition.

Investigators also recovered parts of a disassembled AR-15 style pistol in the house. When assembled, the pistol—which had been painted and its serial number obliterated—was functional and capable of firing .223 caliber ammunition. 97 rounds of ammunition were recovered during the search, including 9mm ammunition, .223 caliber ammunition, and 12-gauge shotgun shells.

Hankerson admitted to investigators that he was the highest-ranking member of the Brims gang in Florida. He also admitted that he had spray-painted the components to the AR-15 style firearm. He claimed that the CZ Scorpion firearm belonged to his girlfriend, who was not a convicted felon, but investigators obtained other evidence indicating Hankerson had acquired the firearm and was its true owner.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Sinacore.

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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