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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, February 9, 2024

Marion County Convicted Felon Pleads Guilty to Illegally Possessing a Firearm

OCALA, Fla. — U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Michael Latrelle Simpson, 23, of Ocala, has pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Simpson faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A federal grand jury indicted Simpson on July 19, 2022. A sentencing date has not been set.

According to court documents, on Jan. 26, 2022, Simpson was a passenger in a vehicle stopped by law enforcement for a traffic infraction. A handgun was located near where Simpson was seated in the vehicle. Simpson’s DNA was found on the magazine, slide and sights of that firearm. Simpson has multiple prior state convictions, including for battery on detention staff, felony battery and fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement with disregard for safety. As a convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Ocala Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert E. Bodnar, Jr., and Sarah Janette Swartzberg.

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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