U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Eastern District of California
Eastern District of California
For Immediate Release
October 15, 2012
Benjamin B. Wagner, United States Attorney
Contact: Lauren Horwood
Project Safe Neighborhoods News
Taking Felons With Firearms Off The Streets
The Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative brings together federal, state and local law enforcement to combat gun and gang crime. At the core of PSN is increased federal prosecution to incapacitate chronic violent offenders as well as to communicate a credible deterrent threat to potential gun offenders. United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announces the following actions in federal PSN cases.
Fresno Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Possession of a Firearm
Suong Hem, 24, pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm after having sustained a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. According to court records, Fresno police officers found Hem in possession of a shotgun with a barrel that had been shortened. Prior to possessing this firearm Hem had sustained a domestic violence conviction and knew that, as a result, he was not allowed to possess firearms or ammunition. Hem is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on January 7, 2013. Assistant U.S. Attorney Yasin Mohammad is prosecuting the case. Docket # 1:11-cr-79-AWI
Fresno Man Pleads Guilty to Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition
Dara Seun, 30, pleaded guilty today to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. According to court documents, on May 14, 2012, Seun crashed his bike into a police car due to defective brakes. Police found an RG Industries Model RG23, .22-caliber revolver and ammunition in his possession. Seun was convicted in 2007 for possession of a controlled substance, and he was convicted in 2008 for infliction of corporal injury upon a spouse or cohabitant. Seun is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. ONeill on January 7, 2013. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly A. Sanchez prosecuted the case.
Docket # 1:12-cr-100-LJO
Huron Resident Sentenced for Being an Illegal Alien in Possession of a Firearm
Luis Lopez-Cortez, 19, was sentenced today to 13 months in prison for being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. According to court documents, on October 28, 2011, a norteño gang member was shot by a sureño gang member. In the course of investigating this, officers spoke with Lopez-Cortez, and he consented to a search of his vehicle. Officers found a .22-caliber Sturm Ruger and Company Bearcat revolver in the engine compartment. Lopez-Cortez admitted to being in the U.S. illegally. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly A. Sanchez prosecuted the case. Docket # 1:12-cr-109-LJO
Fresno Man Sentenced for Being a Felon in Possession of Ammunition
Joseph Avila, 31, was sentenced to four years and three months in prison for being a felon in possession of ammunition. According to court documents, on August 18, 2011, Fresno police officers approached Avila, who became nervous, dropped a baggie that contained suspected methamphetamine, and ran. The officers gave chase, apprehended him, and found a magazine loaded with 5 .25-caliber rounds of ammunition in his possession. Avila has prior felony convictions for transportation of a controlled substance, receiving stolen property, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and threats. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly A. Sanchez prosecuted the case. Docket # 1:11-cr-319
These cases are the product of investigations by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Police Departments of Huron and Fresno.
Unless otherwise noted, the maximum statutory penalty for being a felon in possession of a firearm is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.