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Press Release

Fresno Man Charged in Operation No Fly Zone Sentenced to over 2 Years in Prison for Illegal Possession of Ammunition

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — Donald Ray Phelps Jr., 29, of Fresno, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison for being a felon in possession of ammunition, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, the charges stemmed from Operation No Fly Zone, a multi‑agency, months-long investigation that sought to address a rise in the number of shootings and homicides in Fresno. The operation resulted in the arrests of over 40 individuals, including seven federal defendants.

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 and a compatible extended firearm magazine.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The following agencies also assisted: 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 Justin J. Gilio and Antonio J. Pataca prosecuted the case.

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.

Updated July 10, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods