Four Indicted for Firearms Offenses in Vallejo, Vacaville, Oroville, and Stockton
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As part the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California’s strategy to reduce violent crime by focusing on firearms prosecutions, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced that a federal grand jury returned indictments in the following cases involving illegal firearms offenses.
Jake Edward Howland, 22, of Vallejo, was charged with one count of possessing a machine gun illegally. According to court documents, on February 24, 2019, sheriff’s deputies responded to a call reporting that someone was shooting a fully automatic weapon on the levee in the unincorporated area of Solano County, near Dixon. The deputies located Howland and found an empty .40-caliber high-capacity ammunition magazine on his person along with a .40-caliber pistol nearby that had been modified to function as a machine gun. Several witnesses had seen Howland firing the pistol before the deputies arrived. This case is the product of an investigation by the Solano County Sherriff’s Office with assistance from the FBI’s Solano County Violent Crimes Task Force and the Solano County District Attorney’s Office.
Kenny Xyrus Losito, 30, of Vacaville, was charged with one count of possessing a firearm as a felon. According to court documents, on March 14, 2019, during a traffic stop, officers noticed a pistol hidden under Losito’s leg on the driver’s seat. A search of the vehicle revealed over 1 pound of marijuana, several dozen Alprazolam (Xanax) pills, and a loaded Ruger 9 mm pistol. Losito was also carrying over $5,000 in cash at the time. Losito cannot lawfully possess firearms or ammunition because he has previously been convicted of a felony offense. This case is the product of an investigation by the Vacaville Police Department with assistance from the FBI’s Solano County Violent Crimes Task Force and the Solano County District Attorney’s Office.
Christopher Ballez, 34, of Oroville, is charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to court documents, sheriff’s deputies recovered a Sig Sauer handgun by the side of the road after Ballez had attempted to discard it while being followed by a deputy. Ballez is a previously convicted felon and is therefore prohibited from possessing a firearm. This case is the product of an investigation by the Butte County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Conolly is prosecuting the case.
Marquez Jeter, 42, of Stockton, was charged with one count of unlawful trafficking in firearms, three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of illegal possession of a machinegun. According to court documents, on March 13, 2019, Marquez Jeter sold a Glock pistol to a confidential informant in exchange for $1,200. On April 10, 2019, Jeter offered the confidential informant access to a new supply of firearms. The next day, Jeter sold him 15 guns for $16,500. Jeter is a previously convicted felon and cannot lawfully possess firearms. This case is the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael W. Redding is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Howland, Losito, and Ballez face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, Jeter faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for unlawful dealing in firearms, 10 years in prison for illegal possession of a machinegun, and 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. 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 defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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.