United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Four Bulldog Gang Members Facing Federal Firearms Charges
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Monday, November 5, 2012
FRESNO, Calif. — Four alleged members of the Bulldog criminal street gang are in custody today facing federal firearms charges, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Riehl announced.
According to court documents, the defendants in these cases are alleged to be Bulldog gang members. Each told police they possessed the firearms in question for protection.
Eric Torres, 20, of Fresno, made his initial appearance in federal court today on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Fernando Casas, 37; Arthur Mendoza Gonzalez, 42; and Robert Nunez, 30, all of Fresno, are in custody on unrelated state charges and face federal charges of being a felons in possession of firearms. Nunez is also charged with possessing an unregistered firearm.
These cases are the product of investigations by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Fresno Police Department, and the United States Marshal Service. They are part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative which brings together federal, state and local law enforcement to combat gun and gang crime. At the core of PSN is increased federal prosecution to incapacitate chronic violent offenders as well as to communicate a credible deterrent threat to potential gun offenders. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurel Montoya is prosecuting Nunez and Casas, Assistant U.S. Attorney Yasin Mohammad is prosecuting Torres, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly A. Sanchez is prosecuting Gonzalez.
Gang members who possess guns put our communities at risk,” said Joseph M. Riehl. “ATF will continue to remove guns from street gangs and target those violent criminals who illegally possess them in an effort to reduce violent crime in and around Fresno.”
The maximum statutory penalty for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and for possessing an unregistered firearm is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentences, however, 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 against defendants are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.