U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
August 10, 2010
46 Months in Federal Prison for Felon in Possession of a Firearm
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Worcester, Mass., man has been sentenced in U.S. District Court in Providence to 46 months in federal prison and 3 years supervised release on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Jose Diaz, 20, pleaded guilty on February 17.
The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, which was imposed by U.S. District Court William E. Smith.
At the time of Diaz’s guilty plea, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard B. Myrus told the court, had the matter gone to trial, the government would have presented evidence that on November 10, 2009, a Providence Police Department patrol unit observed a parked vehicle with the engine running, no lights on, and a Massachusetts license plate hanging off the vehicle. When the officer activated his emergency lights to illuminate the vehicle and investigate further, the occupants began behaving suspiciously.
After approaching the vehicle, the officer observed the driver, Jose Diaz, repeatedly placing his right hand between the seat and his right side. The occupants were directed to exit the vehicle, and as Diaz was stepping out officers observed a handgun in his right sweatshirt pocket. Police recovered a loaded Glock 9 mm pistol from the defendant’s pocket.
A subsequent search of the vehicle also resulted in the recovery of a loaded Phoenix .22 caliber pistol from the pocket in the back of the front passenger seat; a loaded shotgun in a case in the rear luggage area; a black ski mask located on the rear seat behind the driver; and two rubber gloves inside cloth gloves located on the driver’s seat.
A second person arrested, Michael Avila, 25, of Worcester, Mass., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on March 19 to one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. He is awaiting sentencing. Avila was a passenger in the rear seat on the passenger side of the vehicle where officers seized the loaded Phoenix .22 caliber pistol. Avila admitted to police that he and the other occupants had traveled to Providence for the purpose of robbing a drug dealer, whom they were waiting for at the time they were arrested. Avila is scheduled to be sentenced on October 1.
The matter was investigated by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Providence Police.