(STL.News) – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that Jonathan Cruz Carino (28, Ocala) today pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Carino faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Carino was indicted on January 8, 2020.
According to court documents, on May 10, 2019, City of Ocala police officers responded to a call concerning a potential shooting. When the officers arrived, they located Carino and a juvenile in a wooded area adjacent to a boat. A search of the boat revealed two loaded handguns concealed under a tarp. The juvenile told authorities that Carino had been trying to sell the firearms. An FBI laboratory subsequently confirmed the presence of Carino’s DNA on one of the firearms.
Carino has previous state felony convictions, including drug possession and the sale of drugs near a place of worship, and is therefore prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition under federal law.
This case was jointly investigated by the City of Ocala Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being 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.