U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
January 16, 2012
Three Sentened to Federal Prison on Federal Firearm Charges
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Three Rhode Island men were sentenced to federal prison on Friday in unrelated cases in which the defendants were found to be in possession of a loaded firearm while on the streets of Providence, announced U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Pare.
Miguel Silva, 26, of Pawtucket; Eric Valdez, 22, of Providence; and Michael Brown, 34, of Providence, were arrested following various incidents in Providence in which a loaded firearm was discovered. Two of the men were arrested following foot pursuits.
U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented, “As Chief Clements stated publicly recently, the greatest threat facing Providence today is gun violence on the streets of Providence. These sentences demonstrate that our office, working closely with the Providence Police Department, will do whatever we can to address this problem.”
Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Pare added, “I commend the hard work and commitment of the brave men and women of the Providence Police Department for making these arrests and continuing to get guns off our streets. Thanks to their efforts, our capital city is a safer place. We will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement at the federal and state levels to get guns off the street and to ensure the criminals responsible are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Miguel G. Silva was sentenced to 65months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Silva was arrested by Providence Police in February 2011 following a foot chase during which Silva, who had previously been convicted of two violent crimes in state court, tossed a loaded handgun which pursuing officers quickly recovered. A vehicle in which Silva was a passenger before he fled had been stopped by police because the license plates attached to the vehicle did not belong to the vehicle. Silva pleaded guilty on October 18, 2011.
Eric Valdez was sentenced to 14 months and one day in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a stolen firearm with an obliterated serial number and resisting arrest.
Valdez was arrested by Providence Police on November 10, 2010, when he was discovered walking the streets carrying a loaded .357 handgun. The firearm was reported stolen and its serial number partially obliterated. While free on bond, according to the U.S. Probation Department, Valdez violated court ordered terms of his release on numerous occasions and an arrest warrant was issued. On July 7, 2011, five members of the Violent Fugitives Task Force - three Deputy U.S. Marshals and two members of the Rhode Island State Police - tracked Valdez to a Providence apartment where he was arrested following a physical confrontation. Valdez pleaded guilty on September 29, 2011.
Michael Brown was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Brown, who previously was convicted of felony crimes in state court, was arrested on July 4, 2010, after Providence Police approached a group of individuals congregating outside a home. When asked, Brown refused to identify himself. As police attempted to pat him down he assaulted one of the officers and fled on foot. As officers pursued him he tossed away an object wrapped in a sock. The object, a loaded .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun was quickly retrieved by officers. Brown pleaded guilty on October 6, 2011.
Miguel Silva’s matter was investigated by Providence Police with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ly T. Chin and Richard W. Rose.
Eric Valdez’s matters were investigated by Providence Police, ATF, Rhode Island State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. McAdams.
Michael Brown’s matter was investigated by Providence Police with the assistance of ATF. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan.
The sentences were imposed by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith.