Ocala, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that a federal jury has found Nathanael Santiago (29, Ocala) guilty of possessing a firearm and ammunition as a previously convicted felon. Santiago faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set. Santiago had been indicted on July 21, 2021.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, deputies from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office encountered Santiago behind the driver’s seat of an idling vehicle in Marion Oaks. Deputies approached Santiago and saw a marijuana “blunt” in the ashtray, which Santiago admitted to smoking. When Santiago stepped out of the vehicle, deputies discovered a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol partially concealed under his right leg. Santiago had previously been convicted of three felony offenses and never had his civil rights restored by executive clemency.
This case is being 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.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys William S. Hamilton and Hannah Nowalk.