U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
January 22, 2010
Three firearms offenders are sentenced to prison
A federal judge this week sentenced three firearms offenders to prison for being felons in possession of firearms. All three pleaded guilty in unrelated cases that resulted from investigations by Providence Police, the Providence Police Violent Crime Task Force, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced the sentences, which Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi imposed during separate hearings in U.S. District Court, Providence.
Yesterday, Judge Lisi sentenced Brian E. Reis, 28, of Pawtucket, to 46 months in prison. At Reis’ plea hearing in October, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rose said the government could prove that, in December 2008, an ATF agent developed information that a grey Buick with a gun in it would be near the “pineapple” on Atwells Avenue in Providence and that the driver would be trading the gun for cash and cocaine. The agent notified the Providence Police Violent Crime Task Force. Officers arriving at the location saw a silver Buick, pulled it over, and retrieved a .22 caliber handgun from a nylon bag in the trunk of the car. Reis has a prior felony conviction for assault.
Today, Judge Lisi sentenced Bennie Pastor Chance, IV, 26, of Providence, to 37 months in prison, and Yoey Breton, 24, also of Providence, to 70 months.
When Chance pleaded guilty in October to being a felon in possession of a firearm, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rose said the government could prove that Providence Police officers on patrol in the Manton Avenue area on August 27 saw a speeding SUV. When they activated their lights and siren, the vehicle sped away, crossing the center line and driving erratically.
The SUV led the officers onto Route 10 and stopped in the breakdown lane. A man, later identified as Chance, fled on foot from the rear passenger area. Officer Matthew Jennette chased Chance on foot, tackled him and, after a struggle in which other officers assisted, officers saw a black handgun fall from Chance’s waistband. Another handgun was tucked into Chance’s waistband. Chance has a prior felony conviction for firing a gun from a motor vehicle.
At a hearing in October at which Breton pleaded guilty, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rose said that, on June 24, as officers from the Providence Police Violent Crimes Task Force followed a suspicious vehicle, it sped away and Breton, who was a passenger, ran from the vehicle, holding a handgun. Officers chased Breton, arrested him and seized the handgun. He has two prior convictions for robbery.
The government prosecuted the cases as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a Department of Justice initiative against gun crimes. Under Project Safe Neighborhoods, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, working with Providence Police, ATF, the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, Rhode Island State Police, and other agencies, aggressively prosecutes federal firearms offenses in an effort to incarcerate those responsible for gun violence and deter others from committing gun crimes. Since 2001, federal gun offenders have been sentenced to a total of more than 900 years in federal prison.