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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Middle District of Florida

For Immediate Release

May 21, 2012

Robert E. O’Neill, United States Attorney

Contact: William Daniels
(813) 274-6388

Felon With Gun Sentenced to More Than Ten Years

TAMPA, FL – U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces that U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew today sentenced David Meza (27, Ruskin) to 130 months in federal prison, followed by 36 months of supervised release, for being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. As part of his sentence, Meza was also ordered to pay restitution for damage he caused to a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) patrol car. He pled guilty on February 28, 2012.

According to court documents, on February 4, 2011, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) stopped Meza for a traffic violation. When the officer approached Meza’s vehicle window, he smelled marijuana and saw an 11.6 gram bud of actual marijuana hanging from the rear window of the car. When the car was searched, the officer, assisted by HCSO deputies, recovered the bud of marijuana, 1.6 grams of cocaine, a digital scale covered with cocaine and marijuana residue, 19 grams of marijuana, a plastic baggie filled with re-sealable plastic bags, $2,242 in cash, and a box of .22 caliber ammunition. Officers also recovered a .40 caliber Glock semi-automatic hand gun, which was determined to be a stolen Florida Department of Law Enforcement-issued service weapon, along with a twenty-nine round ammunition magazine. Meza was charged by the State and released on bond.

A few weeks later, on February 28, 2011, HCSO deputies responded to a 911 call for a fight in progress. Upon arrival, deputies found Meza splattered with blood and carrying a .38 caliber revolver. While being arrested, Meza kicked out the rear window of the deputy’s cruiser and threatened the deputy. Evidence presented in court confirmed that Meza was armed with a second firearm on the night of the incident and that he had pointed it at the deputies.

This case was investigated by the FDOT, HCSO, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.

It is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program – a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy led by ATF. United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill, along with Virginia O’Brien, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, is coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort here in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.