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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Friday, November 15, 2013

Vancouver, Washington Gang Member Convicted of Being a Felon in Possession of Firearm

Trial Testimony Centers On Recorded Jail Calls About Hidden Firearm

            A repeat offender who used recorded jail telephone lines to try to get his girlfriend to hide his gun from law enforcement, was convicted late yesterday of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  HERBERT D. ZENO, 33, a known gang member from the Vancouver, Washington area was convicted following a three day jury trial.  ZENO was arrested and booked into the Clark County Jail on January 31, 2013.  ZENO was charged federally February 19, 2013.  When sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton on January 31, 2014 , ZENO faces up to ten years in prison.

According to testimony presented at trial, on the same day of his arrest on state charges, ZENO used the jail telephone system to attempt to get his girlfriend to hide a firearm he possessed.  The jail calls were monitored and recorded.  The recorded phone calls resulted in a  court authorized search for the firearm.  It was discovered hidden under a dresser in ZENO’s mother’s home.  ZENO has prior convictions for drug possession (2003, 2005), robbery (2002) and illegal firearm possession (2002).  ZENO’s prior convictions bar him from possessing firearms.  ZENO has tattoos identifying him as a Bloods gang member and the firearm was found wrapped in a red Bloods bandana – a sign of his ownership.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Safe Streets Gang Task Force which contains officers from the Vancouver Police Department and Clark County Sheriff’s Office.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives assisted with the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Dion and Thomas Bates.

Updated March 23, 2015