218 illegal firearms indictments Filed last year as part of Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN)
Mike Tobin, Public Affairs Specialist, (216) 622-3651
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio filed 218 illegal firearms indictments last year as part of Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN), U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach announced.
“This office places a high priority on keeping firearms out of the hands of those who are forbidden by law from obtaining them,” Dettelbach said. “Whether it is a person using a gun to commit a violent crime, a felon illegally obtaining a firearm or a straw purchaser trying to circumvent the law, we will aggressively pursue those who would violate our nation’s firearms laws.”
“Combating violent crime is ATF’s top priority,” said Robert J. Browning, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Columbus Field Division. “This means ATF agents are getting guns out of the hands of violent criminals in order to make our communities safer.”
Broken down by geography in the district, the most indictments filed came out of the Cleveland office, with 83. That was followed by the Youngstown office (53), Akron office (49) and Toledo office (33).
There were 157 defendants sentenced last year for firearms crimes and the average sentence was slightly more than five years (61.4 months).
Details of selected cases:
United States v. Edmund Robinson
Edmund Robinson was sentenced to five years in prison in November after previously being found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Robinson got into an argument with another person in the parking lot of the Franklin Park Mall in Toledo on Jan. 4, 2011. As the other man walked into the mall, Robinson fired three shots into the man’s car. He was later arrested and found with a .38-caliber revolver, despite a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon.
Twelve people were indicted on illegal firearms charges as part of a broader undercover storefront sting operation in Mansfield, Ohio.
The storefront targeted convicted felons who trafficked firearms and drugs. It resulted in overall charges filed against 60 people, the seizure of more than 70 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
The V-GRIP Initiative
This year’s V-GRIP (Violence, Gun Reduction Interdiction Program) program in the Mahoning Valley resulted in nearly 150 firearms seized in Youngstown, Warren and surrounding communities, as well as 12 federal indictments.
Jeremy Betts, 26, of Campbell, Ohio, was arrested on Sept. 3, 2011 after being found in possession of a sawed-off shotgun. The shotgun was hidden in a stroller that was carrying a baby, according to court documents.
The V-GRIP program included cooperation from nearly two dozen federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. These agencies worked together to put additional officers on the streets of Youngstown, Warren and surrounding communities to supplement regular patrols.
They identified repeat violent offenders, with an emphasis on reducing gun violence. Those arrested and found to be in possession of illegal firearms, drugs or other contraband could then be prosecuted in either federal or state court.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun and gang crime in America by networking existing local programs that target gun and gun crime and providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful. Since its inception in 2001, approximately $2 billion has been committed to this initiative. This funding is being used to hire new federal and state prosecutors, support investigators, provide training, distribute gun lock safety kits, deter juvenile gun crime, and develop and promote community outreach efforts as well as to support other gun and gang violence reduction strategies.
As a point of reference, PSN prosecution statistics for calendar year 2002 through 2010 are as follows:
2002: 117 indictments
2003: 155 indictments
2004: 184 indictments
2005: 220 indictments
2006: 187 indictments
2007: 191 indictments
2008: 157 indictments
2009: 156 indictments
2010: 166 indictments
2011: 218 indictments