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Press Release

Inland Empire Man with Lengthy Record Sentenced to 4 years in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing Stolen Handgun

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

            LOS ANGELES – A Riverside man who pleaded guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a stolen handgun has been sentenced to four years in federal prison.

            Joseph Sanchez, 37, received the 48-month sentence at a hearing yesterday before United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips.

            Sanchez pleaded guilty on May 16 to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

            This case stemmed from a September 18, 2015 probation search by the Riverside Police Department. When officers entered the residence, Sanchez was sitting on a couch with a bag on his lap. Inside the bag, officers found a loaded 9mm Glock. Investigators determined that the handgun was reported stolen from a Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy on July 3, 2015. In addition to the loaded handgun, police also found Sanchez to be in possession of another bag that contained another nine 9mm rounds.

            “This defendant has a lengthy and serious criminal record which disqualifies him from possessing a firearm,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “His new prison sentence was warranted because, not only was he in possession of a handgun and ammunition, he knew the gun had been stolen from a police officer and he was under court supervision at the time after being convicted in a narcotics case.”

            This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

            “Agents learned Mr. Sanchez did not hesitate to engage in criminal activity, even after being previously convicted of similar offenses,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Eric D. Harden. “ATF will investigate and pursue prosecution of those that continue to threaten the safety of our neighborhoods.”

            This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen T. Merrill and Deana L. Bohenek of the Riverside Branch Office.

Updated August 23, 2016

Press Release Number: 16--197