Ocala, Florida – Senior United States District Judge James Whittemore has sentenced Kwasi Francis (30, Ocala) to 5 years and 10 months in federal prison for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The court also ordered Francis to forfeit the firearm and all ammunition associated with the offense.
Francis had pleaded guilty to the offense on January 30, 2020.
According to court documents, officers from the City of Ocala Police Department arrested Francis on state burglary and drug possession charges on May 7, 2019. While he was being processed at the Marion County Jail, the jail staff discovered that Francis had concealed a 9mm firearm on his person, between multiple pairs of pants. The firearm was loaded, including a bullet in the chamber. Francis, who has prior felony convictions for burglary and heroin distribution, is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the City of Ocala Police Department, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.
This is another case prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide, crime reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities. It involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts. In the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.