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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
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Judge Finds Fort Myers Felon Guilty of Unlawfully Possessing a Loaded Firearm With an Obliterated Serial Number

Fort Myers, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Steven Dewayne Barnes, Jr. (26, Fort Myers) has been found guilty, following a bench trial before United States District Judge Sheri Polster Chappell, of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Barnes faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

According to court records, on November 15, 2022, officers from the Fort Myers Police Department were on patrol when they encountered Barnes walking on Washington Avenue in Fort Myers. During a conversation with Barnes, officers became concerned that Barnes, a multi-convicted felon, may be concealing a weapon, and he was subsequently searched. Officers located and removed a loaded Smith and Wesson handgun equipped with a laser sight that had been concealed in Barnes’s waistband. The serial number on the gun had been scratched out. Barnes, who had previously served a sentence in state prison for a violent felony, is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law. Additionally, federal law prohibits possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Fort Myers Police Department, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States 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 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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