Fresno County Felon Convicted of Illegal Possession of Firearm
FRESNO, Calif. — Gary Lee Ortiz, 41, of Auberry, pleaded guilty today to being a felon in possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number, Acting United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to the plea agreement, Ortiz will pay restitution to the U.S. Forest Service for damaging public land and natural resources as a result of marijuana cultivation activities near his residence in the Mill Creek area.
According to court documents, on June 8, 2015, Ortiz possessed the firearm at his residence when law enforcement officers located a marijuana cultivation operation on Ortiz’s property and also on adjacent land in the Sierra National Forest. Law enforcement officers eradicated the plants and seized a total of four firearms. One of the firearms was a Herbert Schmidt, model E 15, .22 LR caliber revolver with the serial number obliterated. At the time, Ortiz was a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Ortiz is scheduled for sentencing on March 6, 2017, by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neil. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will 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.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, and the Fresno County Probation Department. Assistant United States Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.