You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 11, 2022

Aryan Brotherhood Gang Member from Visalia Charged for Firearm Possession

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment today against Brian Thomas Whitworth, 38, of Visalia, charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, officers were investigating a vehicle theft reported by Whitworth, but upon reviewing his home’s surveillance footage, they saw that Whitworth had fired a rifle during the theft. Officers recovered a rifle matching the description of the rifle Whitworth was seen firing in the surveillance footage. In jail calls, Whitworth admitted to knowledge of the firearm and also discussed his gang membership. Whitworth was previously convicted of felonies, including assault with a deadly weapon and vehicle theft and was therefore prohibited from possessing firearms.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Visalia Police Department, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Jean Berger is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Whitworth faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated August 11, 2022