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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Middle District of Florida

For Immediate Release

October 1, 2012

Robert E. O'Neill, United States Attorney

Contact: William Daniels

Tampa Armed Career Criminal Sentenced to More than 21 Years

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday sentenced Willie C. Toney (67, Tampa) today to 21 years and 10 months in federal prison for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition. Toney was found guilty by a federal jury on July 17, 2012.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, on October 1, 2009, offices from the Tampa Police Department responded to a "shots fired" call in the Grant Park area during the early morning hours. Upon arrival, officers learned that Toney had been threatening residents and had fired two shots in the yard of his then-girlfriend's home. An eyewitness saw Toney, with a small caliber gun in his pocket, attempt to jump a fence and climb a tree to evade police. A short time later, officers spotted Toney jump down from the fence and toss an object to the ground. After a short foot chase, Toney was taken into custody. The object recovered was a .25 caliber Raven Arms pistol. Officers also recovered a matching .25 caliber magazine and six additional rounds of .25 caliber ammunition from Toney's pants pocket.

At the time of this offense, Toney was a previously convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition. His prior criminal history dates back to 1966 and includes convictions for aggravated assault, possession of narcotics, manslaughter, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

This case was investigated by the ATF and the Tampa Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Josephine W. Thomas and Jay L. Hoffer.

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 Delano Reid, Acting 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.