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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

Los Angeles Field Division

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Contact: Los Angeles Field Division

Bullet Casings and Gun Tracing Connect Crime Scenes & Gang Members

LOS ANGELES – The last of four Pasadena Denver Lanes (PDL) gang members was sentenced yesterday for federal firearm offenses committed over a six-month period in 2016.  The criminal possession of firearms by gang members involved in the case included a downtown Pasadena shooting following a high school football game.  

Anthony Bingham, 27, of San Bernardino, was sentenced to three years of probation and six months of home detention yesterday by the Honorable Jesus G. Bernal, Central District of California. Bingham pleaded guilty on Jan. 8, 2018 on a felon in possession charge.

“This is an example of ATF working together with its local law enforcement partners by sharing intelligence and ballistic tools from our Crime Gun Intelligence Center to identify and target those trigger pullers in our community,” said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Los Angeles Field Division’s Special Agent in Charge Bill McMullan. “We will continue to focus our efforts on these violent criminal organizations to hold them accountable for their actions.” 

“The San Bernardino Police Department is appreciative of the relationship and the support we receive from our federal law enforcement partners, including ATF,” said San Bernardino Police Department (SBPD) Chief Jarrod Burguan. “This case underscores the importance of working together and pooling our resources to best serve the needs of our communities.”

In 2016, due to escalating crime gun violence in the City of San Bernardino, the SBPD partnered with ATF to begin targeting violent criminals responsible for shootings.

Early in the investigation, Walter Nichols, 24, of San Bernardino, and his brother Joseph Denham, 27, of San Bernardino, both PDL gang members, sold three rifles during two controlled purchases.

In early November 2016, Pasadena Police Department (PPD) detectives informed ATF that Nichols, Denham, and Jahaad Crawford, 26, of Pasadena, along with one other PDL gangster were believed to be involved in a shootout in a downtown Pasadena restaurant parking lot following a high school football game.  During the incident Nichols, Denham, Crawford, and the other gangster, all either shot or attempted to shoot, later fleeing in a getaway car driven by a PDL associate.

Later that November, ATF arrested Nichols in San Bernardino. In the same day, Denham, Crawford, Bingham and two others were involved in a vehicle pursuit and felony stop by SBPD.  During the pursuit, Bingham and Crawford each tossed firearms that were recovered by pursuing ATF agents, with SBPD officers finding ammunition in the vehicle.  Bullet casings from a test fire of the firearm tossed by Bingham were entered into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).

NIBIN is an ATF managed law enforcement tool used to identify, target, and prosecute shooters, as well as determine their sources of crime guns. NIBIN is a unique ballistic comparison system allowing technicians to digitize and automatically sort shell casing signatures. It is the only system of its type enabling the capture and comparison of cartridges to aid in solving violent crimes involving firearms.

The firearm casings matched the pistol used by Nichols in the shootout after the high school game in downtown Pasadena. The ammunition type found in the car and the ammunition found at the Pasadena crime scene also matched.

Shortly afterwards PPD detectives and ATF executed multiple search and arrest warrants tied to the Pasadena shootout.  The rifles purchased from the crew and the pistols tossed from the vehicle were traced by ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC) and proven to be stolen in the days, weeks, and months preceding the investigation, with most of the residences belonging to law enforcement officers or firefighters.

NTC is the country’s only crime-gun tracing facility. It provides critical information and processed more than 360,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement trace requests last year.  Those requests led to the detection of firearms traffickers, and tracking the intrastate, interstate and international movement of crime guns.

Nichols was linked to almost all the burglaries associated with the recovered firearms.  He received a little more than two years in federal prison and three years of supervise release on a felon in possession charge.

Denham was sentenced to almost two years in federal prison and three years of supervised release on a felon in possession charge. Crawford was sentenced to almost five years in federal prison and three years of supervised release on a felon in possession charge.

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Field Division: Los Angeles Field Division