Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Kathryn Mizelle has sentenced Willard Green Porter (44, Tampa) to five years and three months in federal prison for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Porter was also ordered to forfeit the firearm. He had pleaded guilty on January 18, 2022.
According to facts presented in court, on June 29, 2021, officers from the Tampa Police Department (TPD) observed a speeding vehicle fail to stop at a stop sign shortly before 1:00 a.m. Officers initiated a traffic stop around the corner on Terra Ceia Drive as the car pulled into a residential driveway. When the officers approached the vehicle, one of the officers observed the sole occupant—later identified as Porter—reach into the vehicle’s center console. The officer observed Porter put his hand on a black handgun in the console and the officer immediately alerted his partner. Porter was removed without incident and placed in handcuffs. He admitted to police that he was a convicted felon, that he knew he had the gun in his car, and that he kept the loaded gun “for protection.”
When Porter was searched, the officers located plastic baggies in his front pocket containing 3 grams of powder cocaine and 2 grams of crack cocaine. An additional 11.6 grams of crack cocaine, several scales, and empty baggies were recovered from inside the car. In addition, a black Springfield Armory .40 pistol was recovered from the center console of the car. The pistol was loaded with 15 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber.
Law enforcement records showed that Porter had multiple prior felony convictions, including for possession of cocaine (2002); battery on a law enforcement officer (2004); obstructing an officer with violence (2004); possession of cocaine (2004); tampering with evidence (2004); and possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine (2004), for which he was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Tampa Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Craig Gestring.
This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.