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Press Release

Convicted Felons, Illegal Alien Indicted for Illegal Firearms Possession

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM – A federal jury today indicted three men for illegally possessing firearms because of previous felony convictions, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson, and U.S. Marshal Martin Keely.

In separate and unrelated indictments, the grand jury charged JACOB ANDREW HAMMETT, STEPHEN CHANNING PRUITT and ALPHONSO O’NEAL BESS as convicted felons in possession of firearms.

“Felons who continue to violate our laws remain prime targets for federal law enforcement to take off the streets with federal charges on their way to federal prison,” Town said. “Our office is committed to having federal, state and local law enforcement working together to identify repeat offenders who threaten our communities with guns and violence and prove to everyone that there is no parole to cut short a federal prison sentence.”

Hammett, 28, of Munford, possessed a Taurus .38-caliber revolver on Nov. 8, 2017, in Calhoun County, after three prior felony convictions in Calhoun County Circuit Court, according to his indictment. His prior convictions were for first-degree property theft in April 2015, second-degree unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance in February 2013, and second-degree escape in January 2012, according to the indictment.

Pruitt, 27, of Ohatchee, possessed a Stevens Arms .22-caliber rifle on Aug. 15, 2017, in Calhoun County following two felony convictions in Calhoun County Circuit Court, according to his indictment. Pruitt’s convictions were for first-degree receiving stolen property and unlawful possession of controlled substances, both in February 2017, according to his indictment.

 Bess, 29, of Birmingham, possessed a Glock .357-caliber pistol on July 10, 2018, in Jefferson County after a September 2012 first-degree robbery conviction in Jefferson County Circuit Court, according to his indictment.

The grand jury also indicted a Mexican national for illegally possessing a firearm while an alien unlawfully in the United States. JOSE HERNANDEZ HERNANDEZ, 32, possessed a Rossi 38-caliber pistol on June 6, 2018, in Madison County, according to the indictment.

The maximum penalty for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and for possessing a firearm as an illegal alien in the United States is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

ATF investigated the Hammett and Pruitt cases. Assistant U.S. Attorney L. James Weil Jr. is prosecuting the Hammett case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mohammad Khatib is prosecuting the Pruitt case. The U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force investigated the Bess case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. Royster is prosecuting.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated the Hernandez case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Weil is prosecuting.

An indictment contains only charges. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.




Updated July 25, 2018