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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Rhode Island

For Immediate Release

July 10, 2013

Peter F. Neronha, United States Attorney

Contact: Jim Martin
(401) 709-5357

Bristol Man Facing 10 Years in Prison on Federal Firearms Charge

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Bristol, R.I., man previously convicted in state court on multiple drug trafficking charges, admitted to a U.S. District Court judge in Providence today that in December 2012, he broke into a Portsmouth, R.I., home and stole more than a dozen firearms, five of which were recovered from his residence, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., David Welch, 42, pleaded guilty as charged in a federal grand jury indictment to one count of being a felon in possession of firearms. According to a binding plea agreement filed in this matter and accepted by the court, Welch faces a sentence of 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on October 1, 2013.

At today’s change–of–plea hearing, Welch admitted to the court that he broke into a Portsmouth home on December 22, 2012, and stole more than a dozen firearms and other items. Welch admitted that five firearms, a revolver and four semi–automatic handguns, located by law enforcement in his bedroom during a court authorized search on December 27, 2012, were among the firearms stolen from the home in Portsmouth. Welch admitted to the court that he stole the firearms for the purpose of selling some or all of them to others.

Welch admitted to the court that prior to his arrest on December 27, 2012, he sold or transferred some of the stolen firearm to others. Two of those firearms have since been recovered by law enforcement.

An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Welch has been detained since his arrest.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Milind M. Shah.

The matter was investigated by the Portsmouth, Bristol, Newport and North Kingstown Police Departments and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.