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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

23-year-old Ocala felon pleads guilty to possessing gun

A 23-year-old Ocala man is facing up to a decade in prison after pleading guilty to possessing a handgun as a convicted felon.

On Friday, United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced that Michael Latrelle Simpson has pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. A federal grand jury had indicted him on July 19, 2022.

Michael Latrelle Simpson
Michael Latrelle Simpson, 23, of Ocala

Simpson faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

According to the Ocala Police Department’s arrest report, at around 10 p.m. on January 26, 2022, an officer observed a Chevrolet Impala that came to a stop approximately five feet past the “clearly marked white reflective stop bar” at the intersection of NE 25th Avenue and NE 7th Street.

A traffic stop was conducted in the 1000 block of NE 25th Avenue, and Simpson was the sole rear-seat passenger in the car. During a search of the vehicle, an officer found a loaded semi-automatic pistol.

Court documents state that the pistol was located near where Simpson was seated in the car. His DNA was ultimately found on the magazine, slide, and sights of the firearm.

Simpson has multiple prior state convictions, including for battery on detention staff, felony battery, and fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement with disregard for safety.

As a convicted felon, Simpson is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ocala Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert E. Bodnar, Jr. and Sarah Janette Swartzberg.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve in an effort to reduce violent crime and gun violence.