Ten Persons Sentenced for Federal Firearms-related Crimes in Southern Nevada During Fourth Quarter 2010
Las Vegas, Nev. – Ten persons were sentenced for federal firearms-related offenses from October through December 2010, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada. All of the individuals were investigated, convicted and sentenced as part of the Southern Nevada Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, a U.S. Department of Justice sponsored initiative to reduce gun violence at the local level. The crimes they committed included felon in possession of a firearm, use of or brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, illegal alien in possession of a firearm, and carjacking.
"As these sentences illustrate, the PSN program continues to be an important tool for combating violent crime in Nevada," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "All credit goes to our federal and state law enforcement partners and prosecutors who work together daily to remove dangerous, recidivist felons from our communities. Being a felon in possession of a firearm means prison time."
"Criminals who posses firearms illegally have a propensity to commit violent crimes and instill fear through intimidation and violence," said Stephen C. Herkins, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for Nevada. "ATF's priority is to combat violent crime and by working with our law enforcement partners we are successfully targeting, disarming, and removing them from our communities."
On December 20, 2010, Miguel Casillas was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his guilty plea to felon in possession of ammunition. In May 2009, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officers pulled over a vehicle in which Casillas, a convicted felon, was a passenger. Upon a search of Casillas' person, officers found shotgun ammunition in his pocket.
On December 15, 2010, Anthony Swanson was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison. Swanson was convicted by a jury on May 12, 2010, of felon in possession of a firearm possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. Swanson had three prior felony drug convictions.
On December 15, 2010, Francisco Javier Franco was sentenced to 84 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his guilty plea to brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. In December 2009, Franco entered a convenience store in Las Vegas, pointed a handgun at the cashier, and demanded money. The cashier gave Franco approximately $150, and Franco was apprehended a short time later.
On December 3, 2010, Pedro Jose Garcia was sentenced to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release following a jury trial conviction for felon in possession of a firearm and possession of methamphetamine. In August 2007, Garcia was pulled over by a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officer for a traffic violation. Following a consensual search of the vehicle, officers recovered a loaded stolen handgun and a small amount of methamphetamine in the vehicle. A records check revealed that Garcia had several prior felony convictions.
On November 17, 2010, Eddie Lee Williams was sentenced to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his guilty plea to felon in possession of a firearm. In August 2008, Williams was pulled over by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officers for speeding. During a consensual search of the motorcycle Williams was driving, officers found a handgun and two boxes of ammunition. A records check revealed that Williams had five prior felony convictions and thus was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition.
On November 8, 2010, Eric Harris was sentenced to five years of probation for his guilty plea to felon in possession of a firearm. In February 2009, Harris was found in possession of a shotgun. Harris had several felony convictions, including evading arrest.
On November 3, 2010, Shavonte Hill was sentenced to 33 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his guilty plea to felon in possession of a firearm. In November 2009, officers responded to a report of gang members loitering and shots fired, and were told that Hill had run from the scene. Hill was located sitting in a vehicle in a nearby parking lot. A handgun was located under the seat he was sitting in. Hill had multiple prior felony convictions, including for attempted murder with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm into a structure.
On October 18, 2010, James Walsh, of Las Vegas, was sentenced to 10years in prison and three years of supervised release for his guilty plea to carjacking. In January 2009, Walsh approached a woman in the parking lot of a convenience store in Las Vegas, and grabbed her hair and demanded her car keys. Walsh was holding a firearm at the time. Walsh and a co-defendant, Michael Taylor, then drive off in the vehicle and later apprehended. Walsh has several prior felony convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm and silencer and burglary.
On October 18, 2010, Francisco Ulloa was sentenced to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for his guilty plea to conspiracy to receive, transport and deal in firearms and to transport firearms into state of residency. Between December 2008 and June 2009, Ulloa and other co-conspirators fraudulently obtained Nevada driver's licenses and identification cards which they used to purchase approximately 27 firearms in Las Vegas. Ulloa and others then transported the firearms to California and Mexico for re-sale at a profit.
On October 18, 2010, Megan Fogle was sentenced to 26 months in prison and three years of supervised release for her guilty plea to felon in possession of a firearm. In 2007, Fogle was found inside of a home where a search warrant was being executed. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officers found a handgun in Fogle's purse. Fogle had a prior felony drug conviction in Clark County, Nevada.
The Southern Nevada PSN program and its associated Task Force have operated successfully in Las Vegas since 2002. Its federal, state, and local partners have worked diligently to fight gun crime in Nevada by ensuring that limited resources were first spent to target the most violent, recidivist felons for investigation and prosecution. From 2002 to 2010, the Task Force screened over 3,600 cases for prosecution, and over 1,030 individuals were charged with federal firearms charges. A like number were prosecuted by the Clark County District Attorney's Office and sentenced in the state court system.
In the last two years, the Task Force has focused its efforts on young, adult offenders who commit gun crimes in and around schools. More recently, the scope of the Southern Nevada PSN program has been expanded to investigating and prosecuting federally persons who commit commercial robberies with a gun. Persons convicted of that offense face mandatory consecutive sentences of five to 10 years for the first offense and 25 years for the second offense.