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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 12, 2021

Two Bakersfield Men Charged with Unlawful Possession of Firearms

RESNO, Calif. — Two Bakersfield men were charged today by a federal grand jury in separate indictments with being felons in possession of firearms, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Duwayne Payton, 25, is a documented and active member of the East Side Crips criminal street gang in Bakersfield. On March 11, 2021, Payton possessed in his residence a stolen Glock Model 17 9 mm handgun. Payton may not lawfully possess firearms because of his prior felony convictions, including convictions in Bakersfield in 2014 for first degree burglary and vehicle theft.

According to the indictment in a separate case, on July 8, 2021, as Sabino Ramos, 45, was driving in Bakersfield, law enforcement officers attempted to stop him in order to serve an arrest warrant for probation violations. Ramos led officers on a high-speed chase, reaching speeds up to 90 mph, before losing control of his vehicle while exiting Highway 99 at Ming Avenue. Ramos then ran from pursuing officers but was eventually subdued. Ramos was found to be in possession of two handguns and approximately 30 rounds of ammunition. Ramos may not lawfully possess firearms because of his prior felony convictions, including convictions in 1995 for assault with firearm on a person and in 2017 for possessing controlled substances for sale.

These cases are the product of investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher D. Baker is prosecuting the cases.

If convicted, the defendants each 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 being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated August 12, 2021