Ocala, FL – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of a two-count indictment charging Brandon Barnes (29, Lecanto) with possessing a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon and possessing an unregistered National Firearms Act weapon (sawed-off shotgun). If convicted, Barnes faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison on each count. The indictment also notifies Barnes that the United States intends to forfeit the firearm and ammunition.
According to court documents, on June 10, 2020, a state search warrant was executed at a Citrus County residence known for illegal drug sales. Barnes was found at the residence with a loaded, sawed-off shotgun on his bed. The shotgun had an overall length of less than 26 inches, making it subject to registration in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. The gun had not been registered.
Barnes is a five-time convicted felon for fraud and illegal drug possession. As a convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tyrie Boyer.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence and enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. For more information on Project Guardian visit www.justice.gov/projectguardian.