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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of North Dakota

For Immediate Release

April 20, 2012

Timothy Q. Purdon, United States Attorney

Contact: Beth Lang
(701) 530-2420

Williston Man Sentenced on Gun Charge

BISMARCK – U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on April 19, 2012, Antonio A. Vela, 32, of Williston, N.D., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Vela pleaded guilty to the charge on January 25, 2012.

Judge Hovland sentenced Vela to serve three years and seven months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Vela was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Crime Victim's Fund.

On September 24, 2011, Vela was driving a vehicle in Williston and was stopped by a Williston police officer for a traffic violation. When Vela gave the officer permission to search the vehicle, the officer found a pistol in the trunk of the vehicle. Vela was prohibited from possessing the pistol because of his prior convictions in Texas for possession of a controlled substance in July 2007 and burglary in March 2009. The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Williston Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Hagler prosecuted the case.