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Press Release

U.S. Attorney's Office Filed More Than 200 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 207 illegal firearms indictments last year, U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach announced.

“This office and our law enforcement partners continue working around the clock to enforce our nation’s firearms laws,” Dettelbach said. “We will continue to go after the worst of the worst -- those who tote firearms and ammunition, despite prior felony convictions, as well as unlicensed dealers, straw purchasers and others who break the law.”

“Combating violent crime and protecting the public is ATF’s top priority,” said Alden J. Fry, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Columbus Field Division. “By focusing our efforts on impacting violent crime in our communities, ATF agents are getting guns out of the hands of violent criminals in order to make our neighborhoods safer.”

Broken down by geography in the district, the most indictments filed came out of the Cleveland office, with 103. That was followed by the Youngstown office (60), Akron office (23) and Toledo office (21).

There were 172 defendants sentenced last year for firearms crimes and the average sentence was nearly six years in prison (68.2 months).

Details of selected cases:

U.S. v. Torrence

Canton resident Renard Torrence pleaded guilty to 12 counts in December – one  count of dealing firearms without a license and 11 counts of theft of firearms from federal firearms licensees. Torrence stole 11 firearms last year from dealers in Medina, Wooster, Sugarcreek, Canton, Strasburg, Canal Fulton, Cuyahoga Falls, Chester Township, Carrollton, New Philadelphia and Ravenna. He is scheduled to be sentenced in March.

Warren Operation

More than 150 firearms were seized as part of an investigation that resulted in charges against 55 people for violations of federal firearms and narcotics laws in April. An additional 42 people were charged in state court. In just one example, Lewis Powell of Warren was indicted for illegally possessing 14 firearms, as well as body armor and weapons with obliterated serial numbers, as part of a conspiracy that brought heroin and cocaine from Detroit to Warren.

U.S. v. Schmidt

Richard Schmidt, of Toledo was sentenced to nearly six years in prison after pleading guilty to a variety of firearms charges after investigators found him in possession of 18 firearms, body armor and more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition, despite a previous manslaughter conviction.

U.S. v. Romero

Jose Romero, of Lorain, was sentenced in September to nearly seven years in prison after previously pleading guilty to possessing 40 rifles, pistols and revolvers despite a 2005 conviction for domestic violence which precluded him from having firearms.

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 12, 2015