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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

September 15, 2010

John M. Bales, United States Attorney

Contact: Davilyn Walston, Public Information Officer
(409) 981-7902
(409) 553-9881 (cell)

Two Port Arthur Men Sent to Federal Prison for Gun Thefts During Hurricane Ike Evacuation

Operation Time Machine Closes Door on Pawn Shop Burglary

BEAUMONT, Texas — Two Port Arthur, Texas residents have been sentenced to federal prison as a result of Operation Time Machine in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Emrick Christopher Knight, 31, pleaded guilty on Apr. 13, 2010 to possession of a stolen firearm and was sentenced to 96 months in federal prison and Elio Acevedo, 21, pleaded guilty on Apr. 14, 2010 to possession of a stolen firearm and was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. The sentencing hearings were held on Sep. 14, 2010 before U.S. District Judge Ron Clark.

According to information presented in court, on Sep. 14, 2008, Knight, Acevedo, and Ronzell Gonzales participated in the burglary of Mike Smith Pawn Shop on Gulfway Drive in Port Arthur during the Hurricane Ike mandatory evacuation. On Sep. 17, 2008, Knight was arrested for violation of the curfew in place during the evacuation and was found in possession of a .38 caliber revolver that was stolen during the pawn shop burglary. On Sep. 18, 2008, Acevedo was arrested while in the process of burglarizing a home in the 3600 block of Avalon in Port Arthur. He was in possession of a .32 caliber pistol which was also stolen during the pawn shop burglary. Gonzales was also arrested during the Sep. 18th burglary and found to be in possession of several firearms from the pawn shop burglary. The men were indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 2, 2009 and charged with federal firearms violations. Gonzales was sentenced to 26 months in federal prison on Aug. 26, 2010.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods’ Operation Time Machine program. Operation Time Machine is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, ammunition and body armor, and improving the safety of residents in Port Arthur, Texas. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

This case was investigated by the ATF and the Port Arthur Police Department and prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Baylor Wortham.