FRESNO, Calif., April 23 â€” United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Noe Ramos, 21, of Fresno, pleaded guilty today to possessing a machine gun.
â€œCriminals who unlawfully possess and traffic in stolen machine guns will always garner ATFâ€™s full attention,â€ said Special Agent in Charge Scot L. Thomasson. â€œDue to ATFâ€™s diligence and hard work, we were very fortunate to recover a significant amount of firepower from these criminals before they were used to threaten the safety of others.â€
This plea is the latest in a series of indictments, convictions, and sentencings resulting from an intensive investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly A. Sanchez is prosecuting the case.
According to court documents, on July 15, 2011, 26 fully automatic AK-74 machine guns were stolen from the Fort Irwin military base. Thirteen of the stolen machine guns were recovered. Ramos bought two of the stolen machine guns and sold them. The U.S. Army soldiers accused of conspiring to steal the weapons from Fort Irwin are being prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Ramos is scheduled to be sentence by Chief United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on July 2, 2012. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The status of the 12 remaining defendants charged in Fresno federal court in this investigation are as follows:
- Vincent Hernandez was sentenced to four years in prison and Moses Zapien was sentenced to two years and four months in prison for possession of stolen machine guns.
- Mark Nino de Rivera was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for false statements to a federal law enforcement officer.
- Ray Anthony Lorona has been indicted for possession of a sawed-off shotgun.
- Mohammad Michael Odeh and Nicole Perez have been indicted on charges of possession of stolen firearms and accessory after the fact.
- Mustafa Mitchell has been indicted for possession of a machine gun.
- Steven Bustamante has been indicted for possession of a machine gun and unauthorized sale of government property.
- Esther Walker was charged with making false statements to federal agents.
- Christopher Schriner pleaded guilty to concealment of a felony and is scheduled for sentencing on May 21, 2012.
- Raymond Galvan Lorona pleaded guilty to concealment of a felony and is scheduled for sentencing on April 30, 2012.
- Nathaniel Granados pleaded guilty to possession of a machine gun and is scheduled for sentencing on June 4, 2012.
As to the individuals who are under indictment, the charges against them are only allegations and they are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.