SACRAMENTO, Calif. Jan 22 (News India) – As part the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California’s strategy to reduce violent crime by focusing on firearms prosecutions, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced that a federal grand jury returned indictments in the following cases involving firearms offenses.
Benjamin Butler, 44, of Stockton, was charged today with being a felon in possession of ammunition. According to court documents, on Oct. 5, 2020, police officers saw Butler driving in Stockton and tried to pull him over. Butler initially stopped but then fled through a residential area at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour before he finally pulled over. Officers searched his vehicle and found a clear plastic bag with 15 rounds of Blazer 9 mm Luger ammunition on the floorboard between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat. On the path that Butler took while fleeing, officers found a 9 mm Glock-style homemade polymer gun in a driveway with scrapes on it consistent with it being thrown. The firearm had nine rounds of WIN Luger 9 mm ammunition in it as well. Butler has prior felony convictions for domestic violence, child abuse, and firearms possession that prohibit him from possessing firearms or ammunition. This case is the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Stockton Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross Pearson is prosecuting the case.
Saahdi Abdule Coleman, 20, of Sacramento, was charged today with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition. Coleman has prior felony convictions that prohibit him from possessing a firearm or ammunition. According to court documents, on July 3, 2020, Coleman was arrested for possession of a loaded .357-caliber magnum revolver. He was charged in Sacramento County but released from custody. On Sept. 8, 2020, after a high-speed chase, reaching speeds of 65 mph in a 25 mph zone, Coleman was found to be in possession of two Glock-style handguns both loaded with high-capacity magazines. The .45-caliber Glock had been converted to an automatic weapon with a switch. Again, Coleman was charged and released from custody. On Nov. 17, 2020, detectives and other law enforcement agents searched a motel room where Coleman had been residing. A .45-caliber 1911 style handgun with a drum magazine was located, identical to a firearm Coleman had been seen posting for sale on Instagram. This case is the product of an investigation by the ATF, the Sacramento Sherriff’s Office, and the Rancho Cordova Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Nelsen is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would 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 are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
These cases are 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. To learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods, go towww.justice.gov/psn.
The cases are also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see www.justice.gov/projectguardian.