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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
For Immediate Release
Jennifer Arbittier Williams, United States Attorney
Friday, December 10, 2021

Three-Time Convicted Felon Convicted Again After Trial of Illegally Possessing a Firearm

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Ricardo Torres, 37, of Philadelphia, PA, was convicted today at trial of illegally possessing a firearm when he knew was prohibited from doing so because he had been previously convicted of a felony.

In September 2019, the defendant was Indicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm, charges which stemmed from a traffic stop conducted by Philadelphia Police officers in April of that year. The incident unfolded when Torres was driving in the area of C Street and Allegheny Avenue in the Kensington neighborhood. Philadelphia Police officers on routine patrol observed that one of his vehicle’s brake lights was not working, so the officers conducted a traffic stop. When the defendant leaned forward to retrieve his vehicle documents, one of the officers twice observed a bulge in Torres’ waistband, underneath his sweatshirt. One officer then asked Torres to step out of his car and began patting him down, immediately locating a loaded semiautomatic pistol inside Torres’ waistband. The defendant had been convicted on three prior occasions of felony narcotics charges and was therefore barred from legally possessing a firearm.

“The crime of being a felon in possession of a firearm is a serious offense, particularly in Philadelphia where gun violence has reached record-breaking proportions,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “As the evidence presented at trial showed, Ricardo Torres illegally possessed a firearm which was recovered by Philadelphia Police officers. Our Office is determined to continue doing everything we can to reduce gun violence in Philadelphia by being ‘All Hands On Deck’ to get criminals like this defendant off the streets for a long time.”

“This investigation demonstrates our dedicated partnership with the Philadelphia Police Department and the US Attorney’s Office,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division. “We will remain committed to investigating and preventing convicted felons, like Torres, from possessing firearms and threatening the safety of our communities.”

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. The Department of Justice 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.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nelson S.T. Thayer, Jr.

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