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Press Release

Tulare County Man Charged with Unlawfully Possessing a Machinegun and Cocaine

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


FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment on Thursday against Francisco Fernandez, 26, of Earlimart, charging him with possessing cocaine for distribution, unlawfully possessing a machinegun, and possession of an unregistered firearm, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced. 

According to court documents, on April 19, 2019, agents searched Fernandez’s residence and storage unit and found cocaine, several assault rifles, a Glock pistol that was converted into a machinegun, and several auto sears. An auto sear is a part that is used to convert a semi‑automatic pistol into a fully automatic machinegun. Fernandez is prohibited from possessing firearms because he is an unlawful user of cocaine.

This case is the product of an investigation by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Newman is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Fernandez faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for possessing with the intent to distribute cocaine and a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the firearms 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 was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Updated June 7, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods