United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill has announced the return of a grand jury indictment charging 34-year-old Roderick B. Sears of Sarasota with being a felon in possession of four firearms and possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it.
If convicted on all counts, Sears faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison. According to the indictment, Sears, who has multiple felony drug convictions, had four firearms and marijuana with him when he was arrested on July 27, 2012.
Sears was taken into federal custody yesterday at his place of business without incident, but he first threw a blue bag which was recovered and contained 10 bags of marijuana weighing approximately three ounces.
This was a joint investigation by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office and the Sarasota Police Department, and is part of an expansion of the partnership between agencies to reduce gun crime and ensure safe communities throughout the region.
Federal penalties can include up to 10 years for being a felon with a gun, a five year mandatory minimum for carrying a gun to a drug deal and a 15 year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for defendants with three prior violent felonies or drug crimes. There is no parole in the federal system. In addition to significant prison time, federal prosecution results in more rigorous supervision by federal probation officers when felons are released into the community.