LOS ANGELES —A federal jury has returned guilty verdicts against a previously convicted felon from Redlands who attempted to distribute over three pounds of methamphetamine and illegally possessed various firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun and an AK-47-type rifle without a serial number.
Daniel Chavez Jr, 40, was found guilty late yesterday afternoon of six felony offenses, including distributing methamphetamine, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, possessing an unregistered firearm, and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. Chavez had previously been convicted in state court of felony of possession of methamphetamine for sale, which made him ineligible to possess firearms or ammunition.
“Those trafficking illegally in narcotics and firearms pose a serious danger to the community, and those doing so after being convicted of the same conduct deserve the special attention of law enforcement,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Mr. Chavez did not hesitate to agree to sell a significant quantity of methamphetamine and firearms to someone he barely knew. These convictions should ensure that Mr. Chavez will not be able to threaten our neighborhoods again for at least two decades.”
According to the evidence presented at trial, Chavez sold a pound of methamphetamine and the AK-47-type rifle in a mall in Riverside in June 2015 to a confidential informant working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. In a second transaction in Redlands in July 2015, Chavez sold four more firearms and more than 100 rounds of assorted ammunition The jury also heard evidence that Chavez agreed to sell 1,051.3 grams (about 2⅓ pounds) of methamphetamine to the informant, but he was arrested before the transaction could take place.
When Chavez was arrested on August 21, 2015 in a parking lot in San Bernardino, law enforcement executed a search warrant at his residence and recovered six firearms, including an unregistered sawed-off shotgun, and a collection of ammunition that weighed approximately 150 pounds.
“Prioritizing investigations like this ensures repeat offenders are taken off our streets,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Eric D. Harden. “ATF's focus is protecting the public by removing the most dangerous felons from our communities and seeking the highest sentence possible.”
The jury convicted Chavez after a three-day trial in United States District Court.
After the jury returned its verdicts yesterday, United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips scheduled a sentencing hearing on November 7. At sentencing, Chavez will face a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence due to his prior drug trafficking conviction, and he will face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison.
The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott Paetty and Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Merrill.
Topic: Drug Trafficking Updated July 25, 2016
Central District of California DOJ / 16-168 / July 22, 2016