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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
Monday, April 17, 2023

Lee County Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Unlawfully Possessing Firearm as a Convicted Felon

Fort Myers, Florida – U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber has sentenced Clayton Mack Rhodes (45, Fort Myers Beach) to seven years and six months in federal prison for possessing a firearm as a previously convicted felon. The court also ordered Rhodes to forfeit the firearm and ammunition he possessed during the offense. Rhodes had pleaded guilty on August 9, 2022.

According to court records, in the early morning hours of January 22, 2021, deputies from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) responded to an emergency call for service at a residence in Fort Myers Beach and located an unconscious male in the living room of the home. It was later determined that the individual died as the result of a drug overdose. The deputies also located Rhodes inside the home, who was identified as the roommate of the decedent. When deputies searched the residence, they located a loaded Glock handgun in Rhodes’s bedroom. As a convicted felon who had previously served more than a decade in federal prison for a drug trafficking crime, Rhodes is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.

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.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Simon R. Eth.

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