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Ocala, Florida – Senior United States District Judge James Whittemore has sentenced Shelley Devaughn Cook (42, Ocala) to 15 years in federal prison for possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. The court also ordered Cook to forfeit the firearm and all ammunition associated with the offense. 

Cook had pleaded guilty on January 8, 2020.

According to court documents, detectives from the City of Ocala Police Department observed Cook with an open container of an alcoholic beverage in a public area—a violation of a city ordinance. Cook ignored repeated requests from the detectives to pour out his drink, then fled on foot when the detectives approached him. Once apprehended, the detectives discovered a loaded semi-automatic pistol in Cook’s waistband. He also had quantities of MDMA (ecstasy), heroin, fentanyl and marijuana on his person.

Cook has eight prior state felony convictions, including robbery with a deadly weapon (firearm), aggravated battery, felony battery, fleeing and eluding law enforcement, and illegal drug possession. Because of these felony convictions, Cook is prohibited from possessing either firearms or ammunition under federal law. 

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Ocala Police Department. 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.

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