U.S. Attorney's Office on pace for record number of firearms indictments
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio filed 124 illegal firearms indictments in the first half of this year, U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach announced.
“Our office and law enforcement partners continue to work around the clock enforcing our nation’s firearms laws,” Dettelbach said. “We are on pace to file more firearms indictments than ever before.
“While we will continue to lock up the worst of the worst, who are forbidden from having guns but get them anyway, we must also continue to work to find systemic solutions to curbing the epidemic of gun violence,” Dettelbach said.
Broken down by geography in the district, the most indictments filed came out of the Cleveland office, with 53. That was followed by the Youngstown office (43), Toledo office (16) and Akron office (12).
There were 73 defendants sentenced so far this year for firearms crimes and the average sentence was nearly six years in prison (71.6 months).
Details of selected cases:
More than 150 firearms were seized as part of an investigation that resulted in charges against 55 people for violations of federal firearms and narcotics laws in April. An additional 42 people were charged in state court. In just one example, Lewis Powell of Warren was indicted for illegally possessing 14 firearms, as well as body armor and weapons with obliterated serial numbers, as part of a conspiracy that brought heroin and cocaine from Detroit to Warren.
U.S. v. Schmidt
Richard Schmidt, of Toledo was indicted in January on a variety of firearms charges after investigators found him in possession of 18 firearms, body armor and more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition, despite a previous manslaughter conviction. Schmidt pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced in October.
U.S. v. Clements
Raymone Clements was sentenced to nearly 23 years in prison in July after a jury previously found him guilty of one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm and being a felon in possession of ammunition.
Testimony at his trial showed Clements was shot a dog in a park in Cleveland Heights and has possession of a firearm and ammunition, despite 15 felony convictions, including rape, drug trafficking and aggravated robbery.
U.S. v. Romero
Jose Romero, of Lorain, was pleaded guilty in June to possessing 40 rifles, pistols and revolvers despite a 2005 conviction for domestic violence which precluded him from having firearms. He is scheduled to be sentenced in September.
Project Safe Neighborhoods 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.
PSN prosecution statistics for calendar year 2002 through 2012 are as follows (these numbers reflect indictments for the full calendar year, while the 124 figure above is just through the first half of 2013):
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
2012: 176 indictments