U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
August 2, 2011
NEW YORK HELLS ANGEL PLEADS GUILTY TO
BEING A FELON IN POSESSION OF A FIREARM
U.S. Attorney moves to have the defendant declared an armed career criminal
which would result in a sentence of 15 years to life imprisonment
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Patterson, New York, man who acknowledged to police at the time of his arrest in Rhode Island in December 2009 that he is a member of a New York chapter of the Hells Angels, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence on Tuesday to being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. At the change of plea hearing, the Government informed the Court that the U.S. Attorney is seeking to have Christian A. Rufino, 40, declared by the Court an armed career criminal, thus allowing for an enhanced sentence of between 15 years and life imprisonment.
During the change of plea hearing, the Government alleged that a loaded .38 caliber handgun and additional ammunition was located in the trunk of a rental car the defendant was driving when he was stopped for speeding in December 2009 by a Cranston Police officer. The officer detected a strong odor of marijuana and, when Rufino was removed from the car and searched, the officer seized a small bag containing cocaine which Rufino described as “just a little blow.” Rufino has been detained since his arrest.
Previously, Christian Rufino was convicted in September 1995 of assault and battery by a dangerous weapon in New Bedford Superior Court; in March 1998 of armed robbery with intent to murder in New Bedford Superior Court and was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment; and in January 1990, of bank robbery by force, violence and intimidation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine.
Rufino is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., on October 21, 2011.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose.
Cranston Police and officers assigned to the FBI’s Safe Street Task Force investigated the matter.