News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TUESDAY - June 8, 2010

HALF-WAY HOUSE FELON PLEADS GUILTY TO WEAPONS CHARGE

WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court JOHN CHARLES RANNAZISI, 49, of Raleigh, North Carolina, pled guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924.

On April 8, 2010, a Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment.

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, “It is concerning when a defendant, still in the process of finishing a previous prison term, again turns to illegal activities. It is particularly concerning when those illegal activities involve firearms. However, through the quick, diligent, and insightful actions of ATF agents, this individual was apprehended and taken off the streets.”

"This guilty plea should send the clear message that convicted felons cannot possess firearms in violation of federal law," stated the ATF Special Agent in Charge, Zebedee T. Graham, "ATF will continue to use any resource necessary to identify those that would violate the law and we will hold them accountable."

Sentencing is set for September 7, 2010, at which time 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.

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 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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