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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 6, 2019

Nevada Man Arrested in Yuba County Charged with Illegal Firearms Possession

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment Thursday against Darrel Kieth Higginbotham, 53, of Fernley, Nevada, charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, on Feb. 28, Yuba County Sheriff deputies responded to a report of a prowler attempting to enter a home in Olivehurst. When deputies arrived, they found Higginbotham near the home. A pat-down of Higginbotham revealed a .45-caliber handgun in his jacket pocket that was cocked with the hammer back and loaded with one round in the chamber and seven in the magazine.

Higginbotham had been convicted previously of violent felonies and had a domestic violence restraining order against him. The convictions and the restraining order prohibit his possession of firearms under federal law.

In addition to the handgun, Higginbotham had 10 firearms, including two short-barreled AR-15 rifles, a shotgun, and multiple handguns in his truck. All of the firearms were loaded or had loaded ammunition magazines nearby.

The following day, March 1, after Higginbotham was released on bail, he visited a storage facility. After securing a search warrant, deputies searched Higginbotham’s unit and found 15 additional firearms, including another AR-15 rifle, three shotguns, and multiple handguns. Again, deputies found most of the firearms loaded.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Conolly is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Higginbotham faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 
2:19-cr-164
Updated December 6, 2019