Thursday, May 29, 2014

Milford Man Sentenced to 33 Months in Federal Prison for Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE –Richard Ouellette, 28, of Milford, was sentenced in United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire to 33 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced United States Attorney John P. Kacavas.

Ouellette was previously convicted of accomplice to armed robbery as a result of his participation in a 2004 armed robbery at Hans Market in Manchester, New Hampshire. As a result of that state felony conviction, Ouellette was sentenced to three years imprisonment at the New Hampshire State Prison. Federal law prohibits persons convicted of felony crimes from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.

During an undercover operation in January, 2011, Ouellette sold a German, Model Makarov, 9mm pistol and ammunition to agents of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives subsequently determined that the firearm had been reported stolen from a residence during a home burglary in Deering, New Hampshire.

United States Attorney John P. Kacavas praised the efforts of federal law enforcement in this case and said, “ensuring that persons who violate the prohibition against possessing firearms are brought to justice is a central mission of my office. We will continue to work closely with our state and federal partners to enforce federal gun laws.”

The case was investigated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Cole Davis.

Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Firearms and Ammunition Charge

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that RICHARD ARMBRE WILLIAMS, age 42, of Columbia, South Carolina has entered a guilty plea in federal court to being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1), 924(a)(2), and 924(e).  Senior United States District Judge Margaret B. Seymour accepted the plea and will impose a sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that at 7:18 pm on July 30, 2013, officers with the Columbia Police Department responded to the Fast Point Convenience Store on Fairfield Road, in reference to an alarm call.  Upon arriving at the scene, officers observed WILLIAMS on the side of the building with his hand tucked into his waistline underneath his shirt.  WILLIAMS, after making eye contact with officers, abruptly turned and ran.  Despite officers yelling for him to stop, WILLIAMS continued running and dropped two firearms to the ground before ultimately being stopped by officers.  Officers recovered the two firearms dropped by WILLIAMS, a Smith & Wesson .32 caliber revolver and a Glock 9mm pistol with rounds of 9mm ammunition, and also recovered a small amount of marijuana in two plastic baggies in WILLIAMS’ right pocket, along with two box cutter knives.     

The investigation revealed that WILLIAMS is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and/or ammunition based upon his prior state convictions.  WILLIAMS has previously been convicted in state court for assault and battery with intent to kill (stemming from shooting in November 1990), assault & battery, voluntary manslaughter (stemming from a shooting in June 1990), possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of marijuana, and driving under suspension.     

Mr. Nettles stated that WILLIAMS, who has three prior violent felony convictions, appears to be an armed career criminal subject to enhanced penalties under federal law.  If the district court determines that WILLIAMS is an armed career criminal, he faces a statutory mandatory minimum of fifteen (15) years imprisonment with a maximum of life, a fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of five (5) years to follow the term of imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Columbia Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases.  Assistant United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the Columbia office handled the case.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Virginia Man Sentenced to 43 Months in Federal Prison for Trafficking Firearms to Connecticut

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JAWAWN RICARDO HALE, 31, of Roanoke, Va., was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to 43 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his participation in a conspiracy to traffic firearms from Virginia to Connecticut, and possessing firearms as a convicted felon.

According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from an investigation conducted by the New Haven Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Between June and August 2012, HALE sold a total of seven firearms and a quantity of ammunition to an individual in Connecticut.  HALE acquired the firearms from Charles Matthew Wilson and others in Virginia, and then transported the firearms to Connecticut.  Leshel Branch, of New Haven, assisted HALE in the transportation and distribution of the firearms.

On August 23, 2012, HALE, Wilson and Branch traveled to a location in New Haven where HALE sold two firearms to an individual in exchange for $2,400.  Shortly after the transaction, the car carrying the three defendants was stopped by law enforcement.  $2000 was recovered from the interior of the car and $400 was seized from Wilson’s person.

HALE has been detained since his arrest on August 23, 2012.  On November 9, 2012, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license and one count of possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

In 1999, HALE was sentenced in Virginia state court to 40 years of incarceration for second degree murder, and a consecutive three years for use of a firearm in the commission of a murder.  The sentencing judge suspended 29 years of the sentence and imposed a 15-year term of probation.  HALE was released from prison in November 2011.  After his release from federal custody, HALE faces violation of probation proceedings in Virginia, which could result in a sentence of up to 29 years of state incarceration.

Wilson and Branch also pleaded guilty.  On April 17, 2013, Wilson was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment, and on November 25, 2013, Branch was sentenced to five years of probation.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony E. Kaplan.

Sentences Imposed in Federal Drug Trafficking and Murder Case

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Four Lansing men were sentenced this week in U.S. District Court, announced U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr. The men - Charles Kunta Lewis, age 36, Wallee Abdullazeem Al-Din, age 24, his brother, Mustafa Al-Din, age 25, and Ralphael Crenshaw, age 24 - were tried by a jury before U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker during August, 2013. After a two-week trial, they were convicted of conspiring to commit drug trafficking crimes and robbery, and using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime resulting in murder. The four defendants were found guilty of abducting and murdering Lansing resident Shayla Johnson, age 19, in an effort to obtain drugs. The sentences imposed were 50 years for Mustafa Al-Din, 60 years for Wallee Al-Din, life plus a consecutive term of seven years for Lewis, and 47 ½ years for Crenshaw.

Evidence at trial established that the defendants were members and associates of a violent Lansing street gang known as the Block Burners. The prosecution’s evidence demonstrated that during one six-week span in the summer of 2010, the defendants were involved in a pattern of robbing and at times beating victims for drugs, money and other valuable items. Their violent conduct culminated in the kidnaping and first degree murder of Shayla Johnson. The defendants wrongly believed Shayla Johnson had access to a large number of marijuana plants. The defendants planned to kidnap her in order to compel her to disclose the location of the marijuana plants. Acting on their plan, the defendants entered her home, forced her from her bedroom, and brutally shoved her into the trunk of a vehicle. When Ms. Johnson resisted, she was fatally shot multiple times with an assault rifle.

In the fall of 2010, the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office sought the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of the matter because of serious concerns over allegations of obstruction and intimidation by gang members. The decision was made to transfer the case to federal court for prosecution.

"These lengthy sentences highlight the acts of senseless violence committed by these individuals; their actions were particularly heinous and brutal," said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Steven Bogdalek. "It is my hope that these sentences will bring some measure of comfort to the family of Shayla Johnson and to the other victims. I want to commend the investigative efforts our ATF Special Agents, Lansing Police Department, Meridian Township Police Department, Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office."

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy P. VerHey and Brian K. Delaney and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Emerson, on assignment from the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office.

Madison Man Sentenced to 21 Months on Heroin Charge

MADISON, WIS. -- John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Darrion Brown, 22, of Madison, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to 21 months in federal prison for possession of heroin with intent to distribute.   Brown pleaded guilty to this charge on March 13, 2014.

Brown had previously pleaded guilty in state court to a reckless endangerment charge for a May 19, 2012 incident on University Avenue in Madison, in which Brown shot a woman in the back and a man in the shoulder.  Brown was out on bail and failed to appear for a September 9, 2013 sentencing in this incident, when he committed additional criminal acts leading to his federal conviction.

In November 2013, Brown took a car from a drug customer as collateral for a drug debt.  The wife of the drug customer called Brown and said that she had his money if he would meet her at a nearby restaurant parking lot.  She then called the Madison Police who agreed to offer assistance in recovering the car.

When Brown arrived with the car, police officers approached him.  Brown presented false identification and then attempted to run, but was promptly apprehended.  Police found 19 individually bundled packets of heroin in Brown’s pocket, as well as $860 in cash.  Before returning the car to the rightful owner, police searched it for any dangerous items or other articles belonging to Brown, and found a digital scale and a loaded handgun.

Judge Crabb found it probable that the gun found in the car was possessed in connection with the possession of heroin with intent to distribute charge, which increased Brown’s advisory sentence under the federal guidelines.  Judge Crabb also noted Brown’s criminal history and drug use.  The sentence of 21 months in prison was the maximum sentence recommended under the federal sentencing guidelines.  Judge Crabb stated the sentence could be served at the same time as his state sentence, but left the state court free to impose a sentence in the shooting case that would be served in addition to time imposed in the federal drug case.

The charge against Brown was the result of an investigation conducted by the Madison Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Burke.