DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Nevada

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Christopher Chiou
, United States Attorney

Repeat Offender Convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – On Friday, a federal jury convicted James Bates (50, of Las Vegas) — who previously had been convicted of multiple felonies in Clark County, Nevada and Broward County, Florida — for unlawful possession of a firearm following a drug transaction.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, in August 2020, Bates unlawfully possessed a 9mm semi-automatic handgun and methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Bates’ prior felony conviction history includes second degree murder, robbery, burglary of a dwelling, and grand theft. As a result, federal law prohibits him from possessing firearms.

Following a four-day trial, the jury found Bates guilty of two counts of felon in possession of a firearm, one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. U.S. District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey presided over the trial and scheduled sentencing for November 29, 2021. At sentencing, Bates faces: up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000 for the possession with intent to distribute charge; up to 10 years prison and a fine of $250,000 for the felon in possession of a firearm charges; and for the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a statutory maximum penalty of life in prison.

Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Patrick Gorman of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the ATF. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Ihler and Andrew Duncan are prosecuting the case.

San Francisco Field Division