AVOWED GANG MEMBER SENTENCED TO NEARLY FOUR YEARS IN PRISON FOR BEING A FELON IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM
Defendant Appears in Internet Video Holding Gun and Making Threats Against Rival Gang Members
ERIC CHARLES SANFORD, 21, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 46 months in prison and three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm. SANFORD was arrested on November 15, 2008, following a traffic stop in central Seattle. SANFORD was a passenger in a car that was stopped for traffic violations. STANFORD was ordered out of the car for parole violations. When STANFORD got out of the back seat, officers spotted a gun where he had been sitting. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed the sentence this morning.
According to records filed in the case, SANFORD came into federal custody on December 30, 2008. Charging papers indicate SANFORD is affiliated with the Deuce 8 set of the Black Gangster Disciple (BGD) gang. SANFORD also goes by the monikers “Lil’ E” and “Doughboy.” In his sentencing memo Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi showed pictures from SANFORD’s Facebook page where SANFORD is shown with a gun and making threats to rival gang members. SANFORD pleaded guilty April 10, 2009.
SANFORD has a prior conviction for delivery of cocaine in King County on March 31, 2008, and so was barred from possessing a firearm. The gun, a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic firearm was loaded, with a round chambered. The serial number had been obliterated. Officers also found crack cocaine in the car in the area where SANFORD had been sitting.
In court SANFORD admitted being a gang member and asked for “a second chance.” Prosecutors noted that SANFORD held himself out as gang leader. “They are proud of the fact they engage in all kinds of crime,” Mr. Lombardi said. He urged a lengthy sentence saying it will send a message to other gang members that their law breaking behavior will not be tolerated.
SANFORD was prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), is a comprehensive and strategic approach to gun law enforcement. PSN is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking both new and existing local programs that target gun crime and then providing them with the resources and tools they need to succeed. Implementation at the local level -- in this case, in King County-- has fostered close partnerships between federal, state and local prosecutors and law enforcement.
The case was investigated by the Puget Sound Violent Crimes Task Force, an FBI led group with increased focus on gang violence in the Seattle area, and the Seattle Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.