GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – Three Alachua County men, each with multiple prior felony convictions, were sentenced in late June, 2020, to federal prison terms ranging from 5 to 17 years followed by supervised release for firearm and drug offenses. United States Attorney Lawrence Keefe for the Northern District of Florida announced the sentences.
These federal convictions result from the joint efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies that form the Gainesville Gun Violence Initiative (GVI). The Gainesville GVI was established in April, 2019, by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida in an effort to stem the escalating gun violence in Gainesville and the surrounding area. As GVI partners, the State Attorney’s Office for the Eight Judicial Circuit, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Gainesville Police Department, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, the Alachua Police Department, the University of Florida Police Department, and the Florida Department of Corrections share this commitment to protecting public safety.
“The Gainesville Gun Violence Initiative gets results. There is still more work to be done, but I am confident that we will continue to remove violent felons from the streets and make our communities safer,” said U.S. Attorney Keefe. “My staff and I remain committed to supporting our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners and I applaud the dedicated professionals who brought these men to justice.”
Darris Orr, (33), of Gainesville, Florida, received concurrent federal prison sentences of 10 and 17 years on June 29, 2020, after pleading guilty on January 28, 2020, to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Eutylone (a synthetic cathinone, more commonly known as “bath salts”), and Marijuana. During a traffic stop on May 14, 2019, officers of the Gainesville Police Department searched a vehicle Orr was a passenger in and discovered a loaded 9 millimeter (9mm) pistol in the glove box. Orr admitted owning the gun and was arrested for Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. He was indicted on August 6, 2019. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms conducted a follow-up investigation and a federal warrant was issued for Orr’s arrest. When Orr was later apprehended on September 5, 2019, he was in possession of 77 grams of Eutylone (more commonly known as “bath salts”), approximately 150 pills containing Methamphetamine, and approximately half a pound of Marijuana. Orr had prior felony convictions including drug possession with the intent to sell, felony battery, burglary, and victim/witness tampering.
“This is a result of excellent cooperation between local and federal authorities to address gun violence on the streets of Gainesville,” said Chief Tony Jones of the Gainesville Police Department.
Curtis Lee Woods Jr., (29), also of Gainesville, was sentenced on June 30, 2020, after pleading guilty on January 28, 2020, to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. On July 29, 2019, Woods ran from Alachua County Sheriff’s Office warrant investigators as they attempted to apprehend him on an outstanding arrest warrant for Attempted Murder. As investigators caught up with Woods, they saw him throw something over the 15 foot wall that boxed him in. Once Woods was in custody, sheriff’s deputies located and recovered a loaded 9mm pistol from the other side of the wall. Forensics experts from the sheriff’s office recovered Woods’ fingerprint from the slide of the pistol. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms conducted a follow-up investigation. Woods had prior felony convictions including aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, robbery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and false imprisonment.
“I applaud the hard work of everyone involved in the successful completion of this case,” said Alachua County Sheriff, Sadie Darnell. “Make no mistake, violent crime involving guns and drugs will not be tolerated in our community. We will continue to work with all our partners to make sure that those who choose to resort to violence with firearms are dealt with accordingly.”
Fermon Green III, (39), of Hawthorne, Florida, was sentenced on June 30, 2020, after pleading guilty on March 3, 2020, to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison. On September 28, 2019, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call from a female who said Green threatened her with a firearm inside her own home, and that he was still on the porch outside her residence. When deputies arrived and questioned him, Green denied he had a firearm but a search revealed that he was in possession of a 9mm pistol that had previously been reported stolen. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms conducted a follow-up investigation. Green had prior felony convictions including child abuse, battery on a law enforcement officer, felony battery, burglary, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
“Our law enforcement partnerships play such a vital role in fighting violent crime and protecting the public,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge, Daryl McCrary, “This sentencing is another example that working jointly with our partners is making our communities safer.”
Assistant United States Attorney Chris Elsey prosecuted the cases, which were investigated by the Gainesville Police Department, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, all member agencies of the Gainesville Gun Violence Initiative.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.