Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza has sentenced Jermal Marquis Chambers (26, Apopka) to 15 years in federal prison for possession of firearms and ammunition in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon. The sentence included 10 years for possessing the firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and 5 years for the possession by a convicted felon offense, to be served consecutively. The Court also ordered Chambers to forfeit 10 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition that he possessed. Chambers pleaded guilty on March 31, 2014. He was sentenced on July 25, 2014.
According to the plea agreement, on May 7, 2013, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) responded to the scene of a shooting in Apopka in which multiple attackers used multiple firearms to shoot at several victims. Evidence retrieved at the scene included .40 caliber, 9 mm, and .45 caliber shell casings. One victim was severely injured with a gunshot wound to his pelvis.
During the afternoon of May 7, 2013, unknown assailants shot at Chambers and his uncle outside an apartment complex. No one was injured during the incident.
Late in the evening on May 9, 2013, OCSO responded to another scene of a shooting in Apopka. Multiple attackers had fired bullets into a house where Chambers lived. A subsequent examination of the residence revealed approximately 68 bullet holes in the structure, along with fired cartridges from at least three firearms of different calibers near the structure.
During the execution of a search warrant at the residence, agents found several canvas bags holding a stash of cocaine and related drug paraphernalia, seven firearms, including a .223 caliber assault rifle, a nine millimeter pistol, two .38 caliber pistols, a 12-gauge shotgun, a .22 caliber rifle, and a .40 caliber pistol, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition for these firearms. A forensic examination of shell casings recovered from the first shooting incident on May 7, 2013 revealed that they were fired from the assault rifle found in Chambers’ home. DNA evidence also established that Chambers had held the .22 caliber rifle.
Chambers was previously convicted of felony burglary in 2006 and was, therefore, prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bruce S Ambrose.
This is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” program - a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy. United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, along with Trevor Velinor, Acting Special Agent in Charge, ATF, is coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort here in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. It is also a part of ATF’s Frontline strategy to reduce violent crime and improve the quality of life in communities where law enforcement efforts are focused.