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Press Release

California Man Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Firearms Law

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

A man who was prohibited from possessing a firearm pled guilty March 17, 2020, in federal court in Sioux City.

Meher Aboolian, 32, from Glendale, California, was convicted of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.  Aboolian was previously convicted of the following crimes which prohibit him from possessing firearms: Burglary, on or about January 15, 2008; False Checks, on or about May 8, 2008; and Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance for Sale, on or about December 22, 2016, all in the State of California, Los Angeles County Court.

At the plea hearing, evidence showed that on November 3, 2019, the vehicle Aboolian was driving was stopped by law enforcement.  During a search of Aboolian, officers found, concealed under Aboolian’s hat, drug paraphernalia and pills for which Aboolian did not have a prescription.  A search of the vehicle revealed additional drug paraphernalia, and items to mask the smell of illegal narcotics.  Officers also located a stolen gun, namely a Smith & Wesson Model 669, 9mm pistol, with no visible serial number, and a loaded magazine.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Aboolian remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Aboolian faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and not more than 3 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).  PSN is 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.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from Project Guardian partners. For more information about Project Guardian, please see /media/1122011/download?inline.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Patrick T. Greenwood and was investigated by Tri-State Drug Task Force based in Sioux City, Iowa, that consists of law enforcement personnel from the Drug Enforcement Administration; Sioux City, Iowa, Police Department; Homeland Security Investigations; Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office; South Sioux City, Nebraska, Police Department; Nebraska State Patrol; Iowa National Guard; Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; United States Marshals Service; South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation; and Woodbury County Attorney’s Office.   

Court file information at

The case file number is 20-4003.  Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated March 25, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses