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Press Release

U.S. Attorney's Office Filed 167 Firearms Indictments Last Year

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

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio filed 167 firearms indictments last year, U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach announced.

“Our office and our law enforcement partners will continue to work collaboratively to target the worst of the worst,” said Steven M. Dettelbach. “These include people who carry firearms, ammunition and sometimes body armor despite prior felony convictions, or those who help prohibited people to obtain firearms.”

“ATF’s mission is to combat violent crime and protect the public,” said Donald J. Soranno, Special Agent in Charge of the Columbus Field Division. “We will continue to actively investigate the criminal use of firearms and strive to make our communities safer for the people who live and work there.”

Broken down by geography in the district, the most indictments filed came out of the Cleveland office, with 86. That was followed by the Youngstown office (34), Akron office (27) and Toledo office (20).

Details of selected cases:

Operation Samson II: Sixty people were indicted and 110 firearms were seized as part of a summerlong enhanced enforcement initiative targeting the criminal possession, use and sale of firearms in Greater Cleveland. Forty-two people were indicted in federal court while 18 people were indicted in state court. Charges include engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license, being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, possession of unregistered firearms that had been modified (sawed-off shotguns), possession and sale of firearms with obliterated serial numbers and related drug counts.

 The indictments are the result of “Operation Samson II,” which was organized around three operational groups.  The first used undercover operations to investigate people known to criminally possess, use and sell firearms, as well as people possessing firearms while conducting drug activities. The second group, referred to as the “Follow the Gun Group,” used firearms trace data and ballistics information from the National Ballistics Information Network to pursue leads related to firearms that have been diverted from legal commerce to criminal use. The third group involved ATF Industry Operations conducting inspections at Cleveland-area federal firearms licensees to ensure that dealers are selling firearms in accordance with federal law and regulations.

United States v. Barnette: Jeremy P. Barnette, 28, of Ravenna, was charged with making a false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer. The indictment alleges that on or about March 27, 2014, Barnette, in connection with the acquisition of the following firearms: a Norinco, Model 84S-1, 5.56x45 rifle; a Ruger, Model 03800, 45 ACP pistol; and a Glock, Model 19, 9mm pistol, from Ohio Trading, 8855 State Street, NE, Louisville, Ohio, stated on the Firearm Transaction Report that he was purchasing the firearms for himself, when he was, in fact, purchasing the firearms for another individual who was a convicted felon. His case remains pending.

United States v. Powell: Lewis Powell, 37, of Warren, was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison for of being an unlicensed dealer willfully engaged in the business of dealing firearms and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine. Powell  sold 20 firearms, including three with obliterated serial numbers, as well are heroin, according to court documents.

United States v. Green: Michael Green, 34, of Niles, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms, ammunition and body armor. Green possessed a MAADI, model RML, 7.62” x 39” rifle; a Ruger, model SR40, .40 caliber pistol; 97 rounds of 7.62” x 39” ammunition; 16 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition and body armor after he had previously been convicted of burglary, assault on a peace officer and failure to comply with order or signal of a police officer.

United States v. Thompson et. al.: Jemel E. Thompson, 25, of Ashtabula, and Maranda M. Rabenold, 31, of Madison, pleaded guilty to firearms violations last year.

On or about August 8, 2014, Thompson was in possession of ammunition, after he had been previously convicted of arson in the Oakland County, Michigan, Circuit Court. On or about June 16, 2014, Rabenold, aided and abetted by Thompson, made false statements to the Great Outdoors Store, North Kingsville, Ohio in connection with the purchase of a HiPoint, 9mm pistol. On or about July 19, 2014, Rabenold, aided and abetted by Thompson, made false statements to LWS LJC, Inc., Jefferson, Ohio in connection with the purchase of a HiPoint JCP pistol. Thompson also pleaded guilty to heroin charges.

Both are scheduled to be sentenced in March.

Firearm prosecution statistics for calendar year 2002 through 2013 are as follows:

2002: 117 indictments

2003: 155 indictments

2004: 184 indictments

2005: 220 indictments

2006: 187 indictments

2007: 191 indictments

2008: 157 indictments

2009: 156 indictments

2010: 166 indictments

2011: 218 indictments

2012: 176 indictments

2013: 207 indictments

Updated March 18, 2015