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Press Release

Rhode Island Resident Sentenced To 1o Years In Prison On Firearms, Drug Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Philip DeBartolo, 30, of Scituate, was sentenced today to 120 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of 12 firearms, and manufacturing and distributing marijuana, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Daniel J. Kumor, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Divisionof the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

At sentencing, U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith also ordered DeBartolo to serve 4 years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. DeBartolo pleaded guilty on October 3, 2014 to four counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm (involving a total of 12 firearms), one count of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, one count of manufacture of marijuana, one count of manufacture of marijuana near a school, and four counts of marijuana distribution.

No plea agreement was filed in this matter.

According to court documents, on numerous occasions beginning in August 2013, an undercover ATF agent communicated with and met with DeBartolo to purchase three firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun, for between $300 and $400 dollars. In addition, on several occasions, DeBartolo sold the agent plastic bags containing approximately one ounce of marijuana, each for between $200 and $225 dollars. DeBartolo thought he was selling the guns to a gang member for use in gang violence.

On January 15, 2014,  ATF agents, with the assistance of Scituate Police and DEA agents, executed a court authorized search of DeBartolo’s residence and seized six semi-automatic pistols, five of which had high capacity magazines, three revolvers, and a substantial amount of ammunition. Many of the items were located hidden beneath the floor boards of a second floor storage room. Agents and officers also seized 31 marijuana plants from the basement of the residence.

According to court records and information presented to the court, DeBartolo was convicted in Rhode Island state court in 2005 on felony assault, drive-by shooting and firearm charges.

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented: “The defendant here is a dangerous man involved in an extremely dangerous business.  No stranger to committing acts of violence with illegal firearms himself, he was willing to sell guns to anyone willing to pay – including those whom he knew were likely to use those guns in violence against others.  Money, not lives, is what mattered to this defendant.  Ten years in a federal prison is plenty of time to reflect on that choice of priorities.”

“Today’s sentencing demonstrates ATF’s commitment to targeting prohibited individuals from possessing and trafficking in firearms,” said Daniel J. Kumor, ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division.  “ATF will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to eliminate these types of crimes and remove firearms from illegal commerce.”

The use of the defendant’s residence for criminal conduct made the residence subject to forfeiture to the United States. The United States Attorney is pursuing the defendant’s residence in civil forfeiture proceedings.  Additionally, all of the guns and associated magazines and ammunition seized in this case have been forfeited to the Government. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Milind M. Shah.

To assist the media and the public, a glossary of federal judicial terms and procedures is available at


To assist the media and the public, a glossary of federal judicial terms and procedures is available at

Contact: 401-709-5357

Updated June 22, 2015