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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
Monday, April 10, 2023

Ten-Time Convicted Felon Sentenced to More Than Eight Years in Federal Prison for Possessing Ammunition

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Charlene E. Honeywell has sentenced Jesus Rivas (29, Tampa) to eight years and four months in federal prison for unlawful possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. Rivas had pleaded guilty on November 4, 2022.

According to court documents, on November 22, 2021, just after midnight, Tampa Police Department (TPD) officers observed a silver Infiniti use the shoulder of the road to illegally pass another car. The officers activated their police emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop and Infiniti pulled over to the side of the road. As officers approached the car on foot, the Infiniti fled from the scene and the officers radioed out a description of the car and the events that had just occurred. Another TPD officer was in the area, heard the radio call, and observed two men walking away from a silver Infiniti that was had just been parked. The officer looked inside the silver Infiniti and saw a firearm poking out from under the driver’s seat and radioed his findings. The officers from the earlier traffic stop responded to the scene and saw the two men walking, approached them. Rivas was one of the two men. During an interview with the officers, Rivas admitted that he had been driving the silver Infiniti and that he had fled from the scene.

During a search of the silver vehicle, officers located a ghost gun—a firearm that is assembled from different parts of firearms—loaded with 22 rounds of Blazer ammunition under the driver’s seat. After collecting a DNA sample from Rivas and the swabbing the found gun for a comparable, forensic testing determined that the samples matched. As a previously convicted felon, Rivas is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Tampa Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charlie D. Connally.

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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