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Thornton armed career criminal sentenced to over 20 years in federal prison

September 5, 2012

DENVER – Tito Ontiveros, age 34, of Thornton, Colorado, was sentenced last week by U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer to serve 262 months (over 20 years) in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for possessing a sawed off shotgun, United States Attorney John Walsh and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Andrew Traver announced. The defendant must then serve 3 years on supervised release. The sentence was handed down last Friday.

Ontiveros was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on May 17, 2011. He was convicted by a jury following a three-day trial that started on March 5, 2012. He was sentenced on August 31, 2012.

According to the indictment, on April 26, 2012, Ontiveros, having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment by a term exceeding one year, did unlawfully possess a firearm and ammunition. Further, on that same date, the defendant did unlawfully possess a sawed-off Iver-Johnson, .410 gauge shotgun.

According to the facts presented to the jury during trial, on April 26, 2011, members of the Thornton Police Department executed a search warrant in the 9000 block of Corona Street. Investigators determined that Ontiveros lived in the detached garage adjacent to a house occupied by his sister and brother-in-law. A search of that garage revealed a single-shot, break-action Iver-Johnson Champion .410 gauge shotgun with a barrel length shorter than the legal limit. The sawed-off shotgun was loaded with one round of ammunition. Numerous additional rounds of ammunition were recovered during the course of the search.

Investigators determined that Ontiveros had prior convictions for second degree assault, administration of drugs out of Jefferson County; second degree assault caused serious bodily injury out of Adams County; and felony menacing also out of Adams County. It is against the law for a convicted felon to possess a firearm. Further, if a felon has three qualifying convictions then he is considered an armed career criminal, which increases the prison penalty dramatically.

“When convicted felons possess firearms – and particularly illegal firearms like the sawed-off shotgun in this case – the safety of the public requires swift and severe law enforcement response,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “Due to great work by the Thornton Police Department and ATF, this career criminal will spend the next 20 years of his life in prison, where he can do no further harm to the public.”

“This investigation is a great example of ATF targeting the worst of the worst,” said Denver ATF Special Agent in Charge Andrew Traver. “Career criminals who continue to arm themselves with crime guns will remain one of our top priorities.”

The case was investigated by special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and officers with the Thornton Police Department.

Ontiveros was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dave Conner and Ryan Bergsieker.


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