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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Three Indicted on Firearms Charges



FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury has returned separate indictments today against three individuals who have previously been convicted of a felony, charging each with federal firearm offenses, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

Dionicio Ramirez 28, of Fresno, was charged with one count of being a felon in possession of handgun and one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition. According to court documents, on March 24, 2015, Ramirez shot at an occupied vehicle and then drove away in his truck. When officers stopped Ramirez, he threw a Springfield Armory magazine loaded with 9mm ammunition out of the window, and a loaded 9mm handgun was found inside the truck. A 9mm casing was found at the scene of the shooting.

James Ernest Johnson, 26, of Fresno, was charged with three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to court documents, on three occasions between June 2014 and March 26, 2015, during traffic stops, police found a loaded firearm and narcotics hidden in a vehicle that Johnson was driving.

Jose Cuellar, 37, of Mexico, was charged with being a felon in possession of a loaded shotgun. According to court documents, on March 23, 2015, Fresno Police Department officers encountered Cuellar and saw the stock of a shotgun sticking out of the waistband of his pants. Cuellar reached for the firearm, and after a struggle, officers gained control of the firearm and arrested him.

These cases are the product of investigations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the United States Marshal’s Service (USMS), the Fresno Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. The cases are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, which is a joint initiative to combat gang and gun violence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Sanchez is prosecuting the cases.

If convicted, Ramirez faces 15 years to life in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count, Johnson faces up to 10 years in prison a $250,000 fine on each of the three counts, and Jose Cuellar faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The charges are allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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