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Press Release

Tulare County Man Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Prison for Drug Trafficking and Illegal Possession of a Machine Gun

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

FRESNO, Calif. — Francisco Fernandez, 26, of Earlimart, was sentenced today to two and a half years in prison for possessing with the intent to distribute cocaine and possession of an unregistered firearm, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, a search warrant was executed at Fernandez’s residence in April 2019. During the search, federal agents found and seized scales, drug paraphernalia and cocaine. Fernandez admitted to possessing the cocaine for sale to others. Apart from the narcotics, federal agents also found “auto-sear” devices that are used to convert semi-automatic firearms to fire as fully automatic machineguns. In a subsequent search of Fernandez’s storage unit, agents located and seized several firearms, which included a Glock handgun that Fernandez had converted into a machine gun.

Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ware stated, “We are extremely grateful for this partnership that takes violent offenders away from the communities they victimized. Tulare County streets are safer because of Project Safe Neighborhoods.”

This case was the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Newman is prosecuting the case.

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

Updated December 16, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 1:19-cr-120-DAD