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MONDAY, JUNE 21, 2010

BOSTON, Mass. - A Brockton man was convicted today in federal court of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, James C. Burrell, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Division; Gene Marquez, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Boston Field Division; Massachusetts State Police Colonel Marian J. McGovern; and Brockton Police Chief William K. Conlon announced today that MICHAEL W. VIRDEN, 26, of Brockton, was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. He was convicted following a five-day jury trial presided over by U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro.

According to trial testimony, on the evening of September 3, 2009, Massachusetts State Police detectives were driving an unmarked cruiser in Brockton when they saw a black Lincoln speeding ahead of them. After following the vehicle for more than half a mile, the officers noticed the vehicle backing out of a driveway on Exchange Street in Brockton. The officers pulled their vehicle to the side of the road to wait for the Lincoln to emerge. While they were waiting, the officers heard multiple gunshots immediately behind them, and within seconds, the officers saw VIRDEN jogging in front of their unmarked cruiser, carrying a silver pistol in his right hand. The officers immediately turned on their police lights, and VIRDEN fled behind 37 Exchange St. Evidence at trial showed that after evading the police for several seconds in the backyard of 37 Exchange St., VIRDEN threw the silver firearm onto the roof of a nearby building. The police later found the firearm and matched it to shell casings located in the vicinity of where VIRDEN had fired the weapon.

Judge Tauro scheduled sentencing for Sept. 21. As an armed career criminal, VIRDEN faces a mandatory minimum prison term of 15 years and a maximum sentence of life, to be followed by up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Massachusetts State Police and the Brockton Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd F. Braunstein of Ortiz’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and Maxim Grinberg of the Major Crimes Unit.


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