FRESNO, Calif. — As part the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California’s strategy to reduce violent crime by focusing on firearms prosecutions, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced that a federal grand jury returned indictments in the following cases involving illegal firearms offenses.
Brian Zamora, 28, of Fresno, was charged Thursday with being a felon in possession ammunition. According to court documents, on Aug. 12, law enforcement officers observed Zamora, whom they knew to have a warrant for a parole violation, place a bag in a car and then enter the car. They stopped the car, arrested Zamora, and found a loaded AR-style semi-automatic handgun with no serial number, known as a “ghost gun,” equipped with a 30-round high-capacity magazine, along with a laser sight, and a pressure switch for the laser. The gun and the magazine were loaded with 10 total rounds of a mix of .233‑caliber and 5.56 mm ammunition. Zamora has eight prior felony convictions in Fresno County and is prohibited from possessing either a firearm or ammunition. This case is the product of an investigation by the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Task Force (MAGEC), including Fresno Police Department and California Highway Patrol; the FBI; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office; and the Fresno Police Department.
Adrian Perez, 38, of Wasco, was charged Aug. 13 with being a felon in possession of ammunition, According to court documents, on Jan. 6, law enforcement officers initiated a traffic stop and discovered that Perez possessed an antique handgun and ammunition. Perez has four prior felony convictions in Kern County and is prohibited from possessing ammunition. This case is the product of an investigation by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.
Fernando Manjarrez, 33, of Turlock, was charged on July 30 with being a felon in possession of ammunition. According to court documents, on Nov. 15, 2019, law enforcement officers discovered that Manjarrez possessed 9 mm ammunition. Manjarrez has three prior felony convictions in Stanislaus County and is prohibited from possessing ammunition. This case is the product of an investigation by the Turlock Police Department, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. (1:20-cr-124-DAD)
Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Jean Berger is prosecuting the three cases.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
These cases are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. To learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods, go to www.justice.gov/psn.
The cases are also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see www.justice.gov/projectguardian.