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Press Release

Convicted Felon Sentenced for Illegal Possession of Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant shot victim in the leg in October 2020 in Fitchburg

BOSTON – A Fitchburg man was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Worcester for being a convicted felon in possession of a 10 mm Glock pistol, which he used to shoot a victim.

Joel Polanco, 34, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to 80 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In April 2022, Polanco pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

In October 2020, Polanco was arrested after police responded to the area of Snow and Cherry Streets in Fitchburg following a report of a person suffering a gunshot wound to the leg. A witness reported seeing someone fitting Polanco’s description shoot the victim. In addition, surveillance videos showed a person fitting Polanco’s description carrying what appeared to be the black fanny-pack and holding an item in his hand that appeared to be a gun. Polanco shot the victim using a 10 mm Glock pistol which was later recovered from a black fanny-pack in the area of Snow Street.

Polanco is prohibited from possessing a firearm after being convicted of being a felon in possession of ammunition and distribution of cocaine base in March 2011.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; James M. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; and Fitchburg Police Chief Ernst Martineau made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John T. Mulcahy and Danial E. Bennett of Levy’s Criminal Division prosecuted 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Updated June 15, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses