U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
March 19, 2010
MICHAEL AVILA PLEADS GUILTY TO FIREARMS CHARGEPROVIDENCE, R.I. - Michael Avila, 25, of Worcester, Massachusetts, pled guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of a Felon in Possession of a Firearm; it was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha. The defendant entered a change of plea before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith.
The defendant, who had previously been convicted of a felony, was charged by way of a Complaint on January 26, 2010. Avila entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment on February 12, 2010, before Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond.
On the night of November 10, 2009, a Providence Police Department patrol unit observed a vehicle parked on Cass Street in Providence with the engine running and no lights on. The vehicle’s Massachusetts license plate was hanging off, and when the officer activated his emergency lights to illuminate the vehicle and investigate further, the three occupants began behaving suspiciously.
After the occupants were directed to exit the vehicle, officers seized a loaded Phoenix .22 caliber pistol from a pouch in the back of the front passenger seat. The defendant was seated in the right rear passenger seat.
When questioned by police, Avila described the handgun, stated that he had handled it while in the vehicle, and stated 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.
The matter was investigated by Providence Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus.
Maximum penalties include 10 years in prison; 3 years supervised release; and a $250,000 fine.