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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 1, 2018

Coventry Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearm Charge

Case prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods

PROVIDENCE, RI – Marcus A. Venson, 29, of Coventry, pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence today to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Venson, previously convicted in Rhode Island state court for drug trafficking, was found to be in possession of a loaded firearm at the time of his arrest in May 2017 by Rhode Island State Police following an incident in Newport.

Venson’s guilty plea is announced by United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch; Newport Police Chief Gary T. Silva; Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; and Mickey Leadingham, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Project Safe Neighborhoods is a federal, state and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.

According to information presented to the Court, during the afternoon of May 26, 2017, the Newport Police Department transmitted a broadcast for law enforcement to be on the lookout for Venson who was in possession of a handgun and who was a passenger in taxi, after allegedly brandishing a firearm earlier in the day. The broadcast provided law enforcement with a detailed description of the cab that it was traveling on Route 138 over the Newport Bridge and possibly heading to Coventry.

Shortly after the police broadcast, North Kingston Police contacted the Rhode Island State Police and advised them that one of their officers observed the cab traveling on Route 4 North passing Exit 6. A Rhode Island State Police Trooper observed the cab traveling on Route 4 North and then exit the highway, at which time Rhode Island State Police Troopers conducted a motor vehicle stop.

A Rhode Island State Police trooper approached the rear of the cab and observed a rear seated passenger that fit the description of the suspect sought by the Newport Police Department. The trooper ordered the suspect out of the cab and to lay face down on the ground. The State Police trooper searched the suspect and seized from him a fully loaded, Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver.

Venson is scheduled to be sentenced on April 19, 2018, by U.S. District Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. Felon in possession of a firearm is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 10 years in federal prison; 3 years supervised; and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose.

The matter was investigated by the Newport Police Department and the Rhode Island State Police, with the assistance of the North Kingstown Police Department, Warwick Police Department and members of the ATF Task Force, including the Special Investigations Unit at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
18-15
Updated February 1, 2018