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Press Release

San Joaquin County Farmer Pleads Guilty to Assault on a Federal Officer

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Andrew J. Watkins, 48, of Linden, pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan to a misdemeanor assault on a federal officer, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, on February 27, 2012, Watkins pointed a semi‑automatic pistol at a United States Fish and Wildlife special agent while the agent was performing a field inspection for possible violation of the Endangered Species Act on fenced farmland owned by the Watkins family. Watkins continued to point the pistol at the agent even after the agent identified himself as a federal agent. The situation was diffused with the arrival of Watkins’ brother.

“We will prosecute persons who attempt to interfere with or intimidate federal law enforcement agents in the performance of their duties,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner.

Watkins is scheduled to be sentenced on March 21, 2016. The plea agreement contemplates a sentence of four years of probation, a fine between $10,000 and $25,000, and the condition that the defendant is prohibited from possessing any firearm outside his residence. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court at the sentencing hearing.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Bender and Samuel Wong are prosecuting the case.

Updated February 4, 2016

Press Release Number: 2:14-cr-112 TLN