News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

SATURDAY - April 10, 2010

HALF-WAY HOUSE FELON CHARGED FOR WEAPONS PURCHASE

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that a Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on 8, 2010, charging JOHN CHARLES RANNAZISI, 49, of Raleigh, North Carolina, with unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924.

On March 12, 2010, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives learned that RANNAZISI, a convicted felon living in a halfway house while finishing his federal prison term for armed bank robbery, was looking to purchase firearms. Acting on this information and in an undercover capacity, agents met with RANNAZISI on March 14, 2010, where RANNAZISI requested several firearms: a Glock .45 caliber, an AK-47 with folding stock, and smaller caliber-sized weapons, such as .25 and .32 caliber firearms. Four days later, after discussing what weapons were available, RANNAZISI purchased, from the undercover agent, two Glock pistols and an AK-47 assault rifle. Once the transaction was complete, RANNAZISI was placed under arrest and the weapons were recovered.

Mr. Holding commented, “I want to applaud the ATF in this matter. Just because someone is completing a federal prison sentence does not mean that we turn our attention completely to other cases. Here, extreme vigilance and prompt action by authorities stopped a convicted felon in his tracks and may have averted a future tragedy. All of us should be grateful to the involved investigators.”

A convicted felon simply cannot possess a firearm without being in violation of federal law,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Zebedee T. Graham, “ATF will aggressively identify and pursue those felons that insist on acquiring firearms, especially those felons with a violent criminal past.

RANNAZISI faces up to 10 years imprisonment followed by up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.00. If, according to Section 924(e), RANNAZISI is found to be an Armed Career Criminal, sentencing terms are enhanced and he faces up to a life-term of imprisonment followed by up to five years of supervised release.

This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Wake County Sheriff’s Department, the Raleigh Police Department and the the Zebulon Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kristine Fritz represented the government.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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