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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
Thursday, December 1, 2022

Marion County Convicted Felon Enters Plea for Illegally Possessing a Firearm and Ammunition

Ocala, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Justin Heath Griffin (35, Ocklawaha) has entered a guilty plea to an indictment charging him with one count of possessing a firearm and ammunition affecting interstate commerce by a convicted felon. This charge is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison. Griffin was indicted on July 19, 2022. He will be sentenced on March 9, 2023, before Senior United States District Judge Gregory A. Presnell.

According to court records, on March 3, 2022, officers from the City of Ocala Police Department arrested Griffin for driving without a valid driver's license. Following the arrest, the officers discovered that Griffin possessed a loaded firearm, ammunition, drug paraphernalia, and methamphetamine. Griffin has eight prior state felony convictions, including possession of a firearm by a violent offender (2006) and armed robbery (2007). As a convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.

This case was investigated by the Ocala Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Hannah Nowalk.

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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