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Justice News

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

Friday, August 24, 2018

Recent Indictments for Illegal Possession of a Firearm for Defendants from Bakersfield and Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. — As part the Eastern District of California’s strategy to reduce violent crime by focusing on firearms prosecutions, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced the following recent indictments for previously convicted felons being found in possession of a firearm or ammunition.

On August 23, 2018, James Escandon Jr., 34, of Bakersfield, was charged in an indictment with two-counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to the indictment, Escandon possessed a Smith & Wesson .357-caliber revolver and a Rock Island Armory .45‑caliber handgun. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Bakersfield Police Department.

On June 7, 2018, Marcus Ivey, 35, of Bakersfield, was charged with one-count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to the indictment, Ivey possessed a Heckler & Koch 9 mm pistol. The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Bakersfield Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie L. Alsworth is prosecuting the above cases.

On August 16, 2018, a federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment against Felipe Barajas, 23, of Fresno, charging him with being a felon in possession of ammunition. According to court documents, during a traffic stop, a police officer saw two rounds of ammunition in Barajas’s lap. This case was the product of an investigation by the Fresno Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurel J. Montoya is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the defendants 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. Attorney General Jeff Sessions 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.

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated August 24, 2018