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Press Release

Pittsburgh Man Subject to Protection from Abuse Order Arrested in Oregon following Federal Indictment on Gun Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a federal firearms violation, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

The one-count Indictment, which was filed on July 8, 2020 and unsealed today, named Joseph Plasan, 32, as the sole defendant. The U.S. Marshals Service arrested Plasan yesterday in Portland, Oregon.

According to the Indictment, on or about May 5, 2020 the defendant possessed a firearm and ammunition even though he knew that he was subject to a domestic violence protection order. A PFA in Pennsylvania provides that a person shall not "abuse, harass, stalk, threaten, or attempt or threaten to use physical force against" the persons protected by the order, including intimate partners and children. Federal law prohibits anyone who is subject to a PFA and anyone who has been convicted by crimes punishable by a year or more in prison from lawfully possessing a firearm or ammunition.

"We are committed to protecting victims and survivors of domestic violence," said U.S. Attorney Brady, who has been a member of Attorney General William Barr’s Domestic Violence Working Group since June of 2019. "Abusers with guns are five times more likely to kill their victims, so prosecuting those abusers and taking them off the streets is one of our top priorities. These are serious federal felony charges that, if proven, come with jail time and no possibility of parole."

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. The defendant will be detained pending the resolution of the case.

Assistant United States Attorney Nicole Vasquez Schmitt, who serves as the office’s Domestic Violence Coordinator, is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated September 16, 2020

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