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SAN FRANCISCO –John Dillon Sembrano, Kelly Mean, and Ryan Vinhnavong Chantha pleaded guilty today to crimes stemming from their respective roles in a firearms trafficking scheme, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) Acting Special Agent in Charge Joshua Jackson. The pleas were accepted by the Hon. Charles R. Breyer, Senior United States District Judge.
On August 9, 2022, a federal grand jury indicted the defendants, charging all three with dealing firearms without a license between August 6, 2020, and November 16, 2021. Sembrano and Mean also were charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to their plea agreements, all three defendants admitted to the charges that were pending against them.
Sembrano admitted in his plea agreement that he engaged in the business of dealing firearms in San Francisco. He admitted that he purchased or otherwise acquired dozens of firearms from a variety of sources and that he had another unlicensed firearms dealer sell them by using advertisements on Snapchat and Instagram. In addition, Sembrano admitted on November 16, 2021, he possessed seventeen firearms—four of which were stolen—that he stored in both the bedroom of his Bayview neighborhood residence and his vehicle. At the time Sembrano possessed the firearms, he already had been convicted of a felony and therefore was not permitted to possess weapons. Sembrano pleaded guilty to one count of dealing firearms without a license, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A), and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).
For his part, Mean admitted that he also engaged in the business of dealing firearms without a license between August 6, 2020, and November 16, 2021, and that he acquired firearms from a variety of sources and then re-sold them. Mean admitted that on November 16, 2021, he possessed two Glock 9 mm caliber pistols with high-capacity magazines in connection with his firearms dealing business. Mean also admitted that he also had been convicted of a felony and was ineligible to possess the firearms. Like Sembrano, Mean pleaded guilty to one count of dealing firearms without a license, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A), and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).
Chantha admitted that he posted advertisements on social media applications Snapchat and Instagram to sell dozens of firearms. Chantha also admitted he had reason to believe that at least two of the firearms he sold would be transferred to a person who could not lawfully possess a firearm or who would use the firearm unlawfully or would dispose of the firearm unlawfully. Chantha pleaded guilty to dealing firearms without a license in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A).
Sembrano and Mean face a maximum statutory sentence of up to ten years in prison and Chantha faces a maximum statutory sentence of up to five years in prison. In addition, as part of sentencing, the court also may order that the defendants serve additional periods of supervised release as well as pay fines and special assessments. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Judge Breyer scheduled Sembrano’s sentencing hearing for June 7, 2023, and scheduled Chantha and Mean’s sentencing hearings for July 12, 2023.
Assistant United States Attorneys George Hageman and Daniel Kassabian are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Kevin Costello. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the ATF and the San Francisco Police Department.