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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Nevada

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Las Vegas Man Indicted For Unlawful Possession of a Firearm After Officers Respond to Domestic Violence Call

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Akila Chappell-Hersh, of Las Vegas, for allegedly possessing a firearm after prior felony convictions following a domestic violence incident call to law enforcement, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Patrick Gorman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

“During the COVID-19 situation, domestic violence reports increased as many victims have been trapped with their abusers at home,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “Our office has continued working with our law enforcement partners throughout the pandemic to execute the Department of Justice’s Project Guardian initiative, reducing gun violence and enforcing federal firearms laws — especially in cases involving a history of intimate partner violence.”

The indictment charges Chappell-Hersh, 26, with two counts of felon in possession of a firearm. He was charged in a criminal complaint in April 2020. Chappell-Hersh is scheduled to make his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brenda Weksler on June 1, 2020.

According to the allegations in the complaint and indictment, on November 17, 2019, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers responded to a call in reference to a domestic violence incident. The caller reported hearing arguing and yelling from the apartment. A search warrant was served and a Sig Sauer P229, .40 caliber, was found under the mattress in the bedroom. Chappell-Hersh is prohibited from possessing a firearm after having convictions in Clark County for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of stolen property.

When Chappell-Hersh was located by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers, he had a Glock 30S (a .45 caliber semi-automatic firearm) with a 26-round extended magazine on his person.

If convicted, Chappell-Hersh faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine as to each count. Chappell-Hersh also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only. If convicted of the offense, the sentencing of a defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is the product of an investigation by ATF. Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Mott is prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the U.S. Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the ATF when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.

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San Francisco Field Division