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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
For Immediate Release
Jacqueline C. Romero, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-edpa
Thursday, June 23, 2022

West Philadelphia Man Sentenced to Over Nine Years for Firearms Offense During 2020 Civil Unrest

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Mashaq White, 24, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to nine years and two months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release by United States District Judge Karen S. Marston, for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon stemming from an incident which occurred during the period of civil unrest in Philadelphia over two years ago.

On June 1, 2020, Philadelphia police responded to a burglary in progress call at a looted Rite-Aid at 57th and Chestnut Streets in West Philadelphia.  When they arrived, the officers found the Rite-Aid ransacked. White was encountered inside and was found to be in possession of a firearm loaded with 18 rounds of ammunition. Police saw the defendant moments before his arrest with a companion at an ATM machine located at the front of the store, and defendant was seen drilling into the machine. In October 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty to the one-count Indictment charging the firearms offense.

“Our Office is committed to prosecuting those who commit violent crimes including illegally possessing firearms, which is a federal crime” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “In this case, a previously convicted felon illegally possessed a loaded firearm, which presents a clear danger to our community that is struggling under a surge of violent gun crime.”

“ATF, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to do everything in our power to take guns out of the hands of violent felons and disrupt violent gun crime in our community,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division.  “This sentence is a small victory in the perpetual battle against gun violence, and should send a clear message to those criminals who endanger our citizens.” 

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 Philadelphia Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James R. Pavlock.

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