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Friday, September 26, 2014

Convicted Felon Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Possession of a Firearm

Ocala, Florida – Senior United States District Judge Wm. Terrell Hodges yesterday sentenced Ish’Mael M. Cassells (31, Ocala) to 15 years in federal prison for possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon. He pleaded guilty on July 24, 2014.

According to court documents, from April 22, 2014, through May 8, 2014, Cassells sold firearms, including .380 and .40 caliber pistols and a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle, and prescription pain pills to a confidential informant working with law enforcement.

On May 23, 2014, agents executed a federal search warrant at Cassells’s residence in Ocala. During an interview with law enforcement at the residence, Cassells admitted that he was a convicted felon, and that he had sold both drugs and firearms to the confidential informant. As a previously convicted felon, Cassells was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law. In addition, his numerous state convictions for sales of cocaine qualified him for an enhanced penalty under the federal Armed Career Criminal statute.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), 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 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 violence in communities.

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