Federal Firearms Charges Brought Against 6 Fresno Residents Arrested in Operation No Fly Zone
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned four indictments today against six Fresno residents as a result of Operation No Fly Zone that sought to address a rise in the number of shootings and homicides in Fresno, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
The multi-agency, months-long investigation resulted in the arrests of over 40 individuals, including six federal defendants.
Fresno residents Patrick Anthony Feaster, 23, and Marcus Rashad Newton, 24, are charged in one indictment with one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Both have prior felony convictions and are prohibited from possessing firearms.
Donald Ray Phelps Jr., 28, of Fresno, is charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition. He has a felony conviction for conspiracy to commit pandering in Orange County and is prohibited from possessing ammunition.
Reginald Keith Cannon Jr., 24, of Fresno, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He has prior felony convictions involving firearms offenses and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Fresno residents Taylor Washington, 21, and his mother Jawana Washington, 42, are charged in one indictment. Taylor is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and Jawana is charged with aiding and abetting a felon’s possession of a firearm when she provided Taylor with a 9 mm handgun, knowing that he had been convicted of two felonies involving firearms offenses and was prohibited from possessing a firearm.
According to court documents, on March 16, 2022, investigators gained information that Newton and Feaster would be meeting at a residence in Fresno so that Newton could provide Feaster with a firearm and an extended magazine. Investigators observed the meetup, and shortly after Feaster left the residence, officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Feaster’s car. Feaster failed to yield, bailed out of the car with a bag, and fled on foot. After a chase, officers arrested Feaster and seized the bag from him. Inside the bag, officers found a semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine.
On March 18, 2022, investigators learned about the presence of a firearm inside a car in which Phelps was a passenger. Officers conducted a traffic stop on the car, and during a search of the car, under the seat where Phelps had been sitting, officers found a loaded, privately manufactured, semi-automatic handgun with no serial number.
On March 23, 2022, investigators received information that Cannon was in possession of a firearm at the Fashion Fair Mall. Officers reported to the mall, where they found Cannon, a parolee, and conducted a parole-compliance check on him. During a search of his person, officers found a loaded semi-automatic firearm with an extended magazine attached.
On March 25, 2022, Jawana Washington loaned a firearm to Taylor Washington. Officers conducted a traffic stop on Taylor Washington’s car, searched it, and found the firearm in the center console.
These cases are the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Fresno Police Department, the Fresno-area Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC), the California Department of Justice Special Operations Unit, the California Department of Justice Human Trafficking / Sexual Predator Apprehension Team, the California Highway Patrol, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Kings County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Antonio J. Pataca, Justin J. Gilio, and Kimberly A. Sanchez are prosecuting the cases.
If convicted, the defendants each face 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 being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
Updated April 28, 2022
Project Safe Neighborhoods