You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Fresno Antiviolence Operation Results in 4 Parolees Charged with Firearms and Drug Trafficking Offenses

FRESNO, Calif. — As part of an ongoing concerted effort by local, state and federal law enforcement to address the significant uptick in violent crime in the City of Fresno, a federal grand jury returned indictments today against four Fresno County residents with various firearms and drug offenses, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

“These defendants were all on active parole for prior gun or drug charges— three had ties to criminal gangs, and when arrested, three were in possession of guns and the fourth was in possession of drugs,” said U.S. Attorney Scott. “The U.S. Attorney’s office has focused enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals in our district and will continue to work with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners to reduce crime, save lives, and restore safety to our communities. The bloodshed must stop.”

 

“The importance of today’s announcement cannot be overstated,” said Fresno County District Attorney Lisa A. Smittcamp. “These indictments not only send a message to criminals that seek to wreak havoc on our communities, but they offer some assurance that our proactive collaboration with our state, local and federal partners is delivering tangible results. As the state continues to reduce accountability for those that would do us harm, our ongoing partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and their willingness to bring federal prosecutions, will be critical to achieving truth-in-sentencing and, most importantly, justice for victims.”

 

Reyes Diaz, 26, of Fresno, was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and heroin. According to court documents, a parole search of Diaz’s apartment yielded over 2 kilograms of methamphetamine, over 300 grams of heroin, digital scales, and over $11,000 in cash. Diaz is on parole for permitting another to shoot a firearm from a vehicle with a gang enhancement.

Alejandro Chavarria, 33, of Mendota, was charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition. According to court documents, Chavarria was a wanted parolee. Police found Chavarria in Oakhurst coming out of a motel carrying a backpack and duffle bag. When officers approached him, he dropped the backpack, which was found to contain a Glock-style pistol bearing no serial number with an extended magazine loaded with 30 rounds of ammunition. Chavarria ran back into the unit from which he had emerged, and after a stand-off with police, was arrested. The duffle bag contained two disassembled AR‑style rifles, and three 30-round magazines. Chavarria has been convicted of attempted carjacking, drug possession and robbery. He is on parole for robbery.

Shawn Darnyel Matthews, 23, of Clovis, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to court documents, Matthews, who was wanted on several felony warrants as well as a parole warrant, was arrested in Fresno, and found to be in possession of a loaded firearm. Matthews admitted to being a West Roy gang member. He is a convicted felon prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. According to Fresno County Superior Court records, Matthews has been arrested and released on three occasions in 2020 for domestic violence, pimping, robbery, and assault. He is currently in custody on a federal detainer. Matthews is on parole for assault with a firearm.

Oshay Laray Pullen, 24, of Fresno, was charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition. According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 21, during a parole-compliance check, a law enforcement officer searched Pullen and found a loaded handgun magazine in his pocket. The magazine contained 10 rounds of .40-caliber ammunition. Inside a car Pullen had been seen exiting, detectives found a .40‑caliber Glock-style unserialized firearm hidden underneath a child’s safety seat. The handgun was loaded with a high‑capacity magazine attached to it. Pullen is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his prior criminal record. Pullen is on parole for assault with a firearm.

These cases are the product of investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Fresno Police Department, the Madera Police Department, the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica A. Massey, Kate Schuh, Justin Gilio, and Antonio Pataca are prosecuting the cases.

If convicted, Diaz faces a mandatory minimum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10 million fine. If convicted, Chavarria, Matthews, and Pullen 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 defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

These cases are 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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. To learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods, go to www.justice.gov/psn.

These cases are also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to

Topic(s): 
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated October 29, 2020