ATF

Sample Block


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Eastern District of California

www.justice.gov/usao/cae

For Immediate Release

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Benjamin B. Wagner, United States Attorney

Contact: Lauren Horwood
916-554-2706
usacae.edcapress@usdoj.gov

Four Indictements for Firearms and Drug Offenses

FRESNO, Calif. – A federal grand jury returned four indictments today against a Madera man and three Fresno men for firearms and/or drug offenses, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

Nicholas Andronicous, 30, of Fresno, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine stemming from two unrelated incidents. The indictment alleges that Andronicous was in possession of a sawed off Kassner Imports .22-caliber rifle, two Mauser 7 mm rifles, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, a .25-caliber pistol, and a Jennings 9 mm pistol. Andronicous has prior felony convictions for false imprisonment and possession of a controlled substance for sale. This case is the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Fresno Police Department. If convicted, Andronicous faces a maximum statutory penalty of 50 years in prison and $1,750,000 in fines.

Juan Ruiz-Mendez, 31, of Madera, was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. The indictment alleges that on or about May 31, 2012, Ruiz-Mendez possessed methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it and that he was an illegal alien in possession of a Ruger .22-caliber rifle. This case was the product of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Madera Narcotic Enforcement Task Force (MADNET). If convicted, Ruiz-Mendez faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10,250,000 fine.

Ralph Haros, 31, of Fresno, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The indictment alleges that on April 9, 2012, Haros possessed a Smith & Wesson, Model 686, .357-caliber revolver and had prior felony convictions for burglary, infliction of corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, possession of methamphetamine, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to court documents, members of the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force were attempting to apprehend Haros when he led the agents on a high speed chase. Haros ran from his car, and agents gave pursuit. Haros reached into some bags from the car, and fearing that he was going to shoot them, an agent fired a shot at Haros that did not strike him. Agents found a gun in one of the bags. This case is the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the United States Marshal's Fugitive Task Force. If convicted, Haros faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Edward Mitchell, 32, of Fresno, was charged with carrying a firearm while committing a drug trafficking offense, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. According to court documents, on June 5, 2012, Mitchell had invited a person to his apartment in order to sell cocaine to that person. When the person arrived, he began shooting, and Mitchell returned fire. Mitchell, his girlfriend, and another friend were shot. The friend died. The person who began the shooting died as well. Police seized a Glock .45-caliber pistol, a Walther .22-caliber pistol, ammunition, several thousand dollars in cash, and several ounces of cocaine. If convicted, Mitchell faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years to life in prison, and $1.5 million in fines.

The actual sentences of each defendant if convicted, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The charges in each case are only allegations and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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