Bakersfield Man Indicted for Illegally Possessing a Firearm
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment today against Billy Reo Howard, 51, of Bakersfield, charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, on June 3, 2022, law enforcement officers on routine patrol observed Howard driving a vehicle with expired tags on Garces Highway. When the officers attempted to conduct an enforcement stop, Howard ran a stop sign, drove at a high rate of speed, and failed to yield. As the officers continued behind the vehicle, they saw a firearm being thrown from the driver’s side window. The officers located the firearm, a loaded Bersa .380‑caliber pistol. Howard ran from the vehicle and was eventually located hiding on a nearby property. Howard has several felony convictions for evading a peace officer, possessing a controlled substance for sale, carjacking, and being a felon in possession of ammunition.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Delano Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurel J. Montoya is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Howard 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.