Baltimore Armed Career Criminal Exiled to 15 Years in Prison for Gun Possession

Case Demonstrates Federal Commitment to Stop Importation of Illegal Drugs

August 1, 2012

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Joseph Bassett, age 36, of Baltimore, today to 15 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a gun. Judge Quarles enhanced Bassett’s sentence upon finding that he is an armed career criminal based on six previous drug convictions.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Marino F. Vidoli of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Barksdale of the Baltimore City Police Department; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein.

According to court records, on April 27, 2011, two uniformed Baltimore Police officers were walking in the 200 block of Collins Avenue in Baltimore, an area known for drug trafficking and violent crime. The officers noticed that a wooden board had been ripped off the rear entryway of a vacant dwelling. In order to determine whether the premises was being used for drug trafficking, they knocked at the back entryway and announced police presence. After no response, the officers entered the dwelling, again announcing their presence. As they approached the top of the stairs, the officers encountered Bassett. The officers recovered a loaded .22 caliber handgun from Bassett and took him into custody.

Bassett was previously convicted of a felony and was prohibited from possessing a gun.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF, Baltimore City Police Department and Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Antonio J. Reynolds, who prosecuted the case.

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