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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Massachusetts

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Andrew E. Lelling
, United States Attorney
Contact: Christina DiIorio-Sterling

Convicted Felon Sentenced for Federal Firearm Offense

Defendant Pulled a Firearm on a Landscaper Working Outside of a Lawrence Fast Food Restaurant

BOSTON – A Lawrence man was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition.

Franklin Laras, 24, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to 53 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In March 2019, Laras pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

On Aug. 2, 2018, the Lawrence Police Department received a 911 call from a landscaper working at nearby fast food restaurant reporting that a customer in the drive through lane had a firearm. The landscaper reported that the driver was in a black Acura, provided a partial plate number, and stated that the driver had pulled the firearm on him.

Two police officers responded to the call and found the landscaper who explained that when he approached the drive through lane, the driver of the Acura (later identified as Laras) came out of the car and confronted the landscaper, claiming that the landscaper had “blown s***” into his car. Although the landscaper immediately apologized, Laras lifted his shirt and grabbed a firearm tucked into his waistband. Before Laras did anything with the firearm, however, the female passenger in the Acura excited the car and pushed Laras back in the car before driving away.

Soon after, police officers were able to locate and stop the Acura, and disarm Laras. The landscaper subsequently confirmed that Laras was the man who had displayed the firearm earlier at the restaurant. The firearm recovered from Laras’ waistband was a Ruger Model SR 9mm semi-automatic handgun that contained 12 rounds of .45 caliber ammunition.

Laras had previously been convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison and was therefore prohibited from possessing a firearm and ammunition.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Kelly Brady, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New England Field Division; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett; and Lawrence Police Chief Roy P. Vasque made the announcement.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

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Boston Field Division