Monday, September 29, 2014

Washington, D.C., Felon Sentenced for Using Straw Purchaser to Illegally Acquire Firearms

Arrested After Ramming Law Enforcement Vehicles Following High Speed Chase with Police

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Othaniel D. Gaither, 25, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 78 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release, for acquiring an assault rifle and semi-automatic pistol, attempting to evade police during a high speed chase and ramming two law enforcement vehicles.

Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Charles E. Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga.

Gaither pleaded guilty on July 8, 2014, to being a felon in possession of a firearm.  According to court documents, Gaither, who was previously convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon, utilized a female acquaintance to fraudulently acquire (straw purchase) two firearms from a federal firearms dealer in Northern Virginia.  Gaither provided his female companion with over $1,000 which she used to obtain both a semi-automatic AK-47 style rifle and a semi-automatic pistol on his behalf.  Following the purchase, Gaither took possession of both firearms.

Gaither, despite being a felon, independently purchased over 125 rounds of ammunition as well as a kit that converts a signal flare device into a handgun that fires 12 gauge shotgun shells.  After obtaining the three firearms and ammunition, Gaither, who was being survielled by ATF agents, attempted to evade arrest by traveling at a high rate of speed through a densely populated area. He was ultimately stopped by ATF agents near the Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia.  Upon being pulled over, Gaither first attempted to drive away, when that proved fruitless he intentionally rammed two law enforcement vehicles, effectively totaling them both.  Following his ramming of the vehicles, Gaither was arrested and the firearms and ammunition were confiscated. As part of his sentence he was required to forfeit the three firearms he illegally acquired and possessed.

This case was investigated by the Falls Church Field Office of the ATF Washington Field Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-234.

Orlando Man Sentenced to More than 10 Years for Cocaine Trafficking

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara today sentenced Gerald Robinson (41, Orlando) to ten years and one month in federal prison for conspiring with others to distribute cocaine. He pleaded guilty on May 30, 2014.

According to court documents and evidence presented at sentencing, Robinson was a kilogram-level cocaine distributor in the Orlando area. In 2010 and 2011, he distributed approximately 40 kilograms of cocaine. Robinson’s source of supply, Earl Hampton, was previously convicted as part of this investigation.  He was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew on June 19, 2013.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, the Clearwater Police Department, and the Lee County Sheriff's Office, as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation's illegal drug supply. The case was also investigated as part of ATF’s Frontline Strategy. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher F. Murray.

El Paso, Texas Man Sentenced to Forty-Six Months for Unlawful Possession of Stolen Firearms

ALBUQUERQUE – Emanuel Medina, 24, of El Paso, Texas, was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 46 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release for unlawfully possessing stolen firearms.

Medina and co-defendant Pete Richard Ferraro, 23, of Chaparral, N.M., were arrested on Oct. 25, 2013, on a criminal complaint alleging that he unlawfully possessed firearms between Oct. 11, 2013 and Oct. 23, 2013, in Doña Ana County, N.M. According to the complaint, on Oct. 22, 2013, an officer of the El Paso Police Department reported that a rifle and a shotgun were missing from his unmarked police vehicle. The results of a latent prints examination revealed that Ferraro left his fingerprints on the police vehicle. During the course of the investigation, Medina was interviewed and implicated himself in the theft of the firearms. The firearms were recovered in two Chaparral residences.

On May 27, 2014, Medina pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of stolen firearms. In his plea agreement, Medina admitted that Ferraro and he broke into the officer’s vehicle, stole the firearms and transported the firearms from Texas to New Mexico.

Ferraro entered a guilty plea to possession of stolen firearms on July 23, 2014. Ferraro has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, he faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in prison.

This case was brought as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.

This case was investigated by the El Paso Group III Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the El Paso Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Castellano of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.