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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 12, 2020

Lassen County Man Charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment today against Joshua Paul Doyle, 38, of Susanville, charging him with two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, Doyle was arrested twice in the span of six months during traffic stops, each time found to be in possession of methamphetamine for distribution and firearms. Doyle has been convicted previously of crimes punishable by more than a year in prison and is therefore prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms.

On May 12, when a law enforcement officer executed a traffic stop in Susanville on a vehicle for having no front license plate, the officer identified the driver as Doyle. During a pat-down search, deputies found methamphetamine in his pockets. In the search of Doyle’s vehicle that followed, deputies found a loaded handgun in the center console, as well as another loaded handgun and nearly a pound of methamphetamine in a backpack in the back seat. Doyle was arrested and later released on bail pending trail.

On Sept. 30, Doyle was again stopped in Susanville when a records check of the car’s license plate indicated it had been reported stolen. During a search of the car, officers found brass knuckles, roughly 5 ounces (150 grams) of methamphetamine, and a loaded handgun in the center console.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, the Lassen County District Attorney's Office, and the Susanville Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Conolly is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Doyle faces a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine for each of the narcotics charges, each of which also have a statutory minimum sentence of five years. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the felon in possession charges. 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 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.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see www.justice.gov/projectguardian.

Topic(s): 
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated November 16, 2020