Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington yesterday sentenced Antouin L. Barker (43) to 15 years and eight months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. A federal jury found Barker guilty on February 11, 2014.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, on February 12, 2013, after sunset, Barker was riding his bicycle against traffic and without lighting equipment on 127th Avenue East, in Tampa. When stopped by deputies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for the traffic infractions, Barker repeatedly put his hands in his pockets, despite repeated warnings not to do so. Barker verbally consented to a search, but ultimately put his hands back in his pockets and turned away from the deputies. Fearing for their safety, deputies removed Barker’s hands from his pockets and patted him down. During the search, a small .22 caliber revolver was found in the right front pocket of Barker’s shorts. The gun was loaded with one live round, and four spent casings.
At the time of the incident, Barker was a previously convicted felon. His prior felonies include drug charges, aggravated battery, grand theft, and burglary. As a previously convicted felon, Barker is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law. This case was investigated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark E. Bini.
It 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 Julie Leon, 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.