Ocala, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Wendell Doyle Goney (52, Mount Dora) has pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Goney faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, on July 11, 2021, deputies from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to a burglary at a 10-acre business property in Mount Dora. As deputies were using a law enforcement drone to assist with the outdoor search, the drone was destroyed by gunfire from a neighboring property. Deputies responded to the neighboring property and were confronted Goney, who admitted that he had just shot down the drone with a .22 caliber rifle. Goney claimed that the drone had been “harassing” him. Goney then admitted to the deputies that he could not lawfully possess a firearm because he was a convicted felon. A record check confirmed his 29 prior Florida felony convictions, which included aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, illegal drug possession, burglary, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. As a convicted felon, Goney is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition under federal law.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.