Felon Facing 15 Years To Life For Illegally Possessing Pistol
PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Pittsburgh, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal gun laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
James Gardner, Jr., 37, pleaded guilty to one count on Friday, Oct. 15, 2010, before Chief United States District Judge Gary L. Lancaster.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on Aug. 29, 2008, Pittsburgh Police officers made a traffic stop of a jitney (taxi) in the Hazelwood section of Pittsburgh. Gardner, the passenger in the jitney, had a .40 caliber pistol stuffed into his pants, loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition. Gardner=s prior felony drug convictions in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas made him ineligible under federal law to possess any firearm.
Judge Lancaster scheduled sentencing for Feb. 25, 2011. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than 15 years to life in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Pending sentencing, the court ordered that the detention of Gardner be continued.
Assistant United States Attorney Gregory L. Nescott is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Gardner.
This case is being prosecuted under Project Safe Neighborhoods, a collaborative effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent, deter, and prosecute gun crime.