On August 16th, 2018

Fresno Men Plead Guilty to Unlawfully Possessing Firearms California DOJ special agents assist in year-long investigation into criminal street gangs in Fresno which resulted in 20 arrests

FRESNO - On August 13, 2018, Devone Johnson, 32, and Anthony Thomas, 26, both of Fresno, pleaded guilty in federal court to unlawfully possessing firearms.

According to court documents, on October 9, 2016, Johnson and Thomas were in possession of an Uzi Model A, 9 mm rifle. Thomas was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a previous felony conviction. Johnson was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction.

Johnson and Thomas were arrested on November 3, 2016, along with 18 other defendants following a year-long multi-agency investigation that targeted criminal street gangs in Fresno.

“Criminal street gangs wreak havoc in neighborhoods and communities,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.  “When you look at the number of agencies involved in this investigation it is impressive.  Resources and expertise were combined and as a result 20 suspected, and in some cases now convicted criminals, were removed from neighborhoods where they could do harm.”

Johnson and Thomas are scheduled to be sentenced on October 29, 2018, and November 5, 2018, respectively. They face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Other defendants arrested in this investigation who also have pleaded guilty to various firearms and drug offenses are:

  • Garry Sampson, 40, pleaded guilty on August 1, 2018, to unlawfully possessing a firearm. He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 22, 2018.
  • Raymond Jones, 61, pleaded guilty on August 6, 2018, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base. He is scheduled to be sentenced on November 5, 2018.
  • Danny Valenzuela, 51, pleaded guilty on July 30, 2018, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base. He is scheduled to be sentenced on November 5, 2018.
  • Stephen Hill, 28, pleaded guilty on September 25, 2017, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine. On December 18, 2017, Hill was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.
  • Rashad Halford, 31, pleaded guilty on September 25, 2017, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine. On March 12, 2018, Halford was sentenced to two years and two months in prison.

These cases are the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation Special Operations Unit, the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC), the Fresno Police Department, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, and the California Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit (SOU). The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Clovis Police Department, Fresno County Probation, and the California Highway Patrol assisted in the investigation.

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