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Prince George’s County Felon Pleads Guilty to Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition

Greenbelt, MD – January 10, 2020 - Jerome Francis Canty, age 23, of Oxon Hill, Maryland, pleaded guilty yesterday to being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, and to violating his supervised release from a January 31, 2018 federal conviction for illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.  

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; and Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

According to his guilty plea, on June 5, 2019, in response to a citizen complaint, Prince George’s County Police officers responded to an apartment in Temple Hills, Maryland, where they saw Canty and another man on the couch in the living room.  Officers also saw a black handgun in plain view on the couch next to Canty’s left leg.  The gun was a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol.  The officers detained Canty and the other man.  The officers also saw a second firearm—a 9x19 millimeter caliber semi-automatic pistol—protruding from Canty’s right pants pocket.  Both guns were loaded.  At the time of the incident, a minor was asleep on the couch near the loaded firearms and three other children, all under the age of 10, were also in the apartment with the men.

The officers removed the two men from the apartment.  As they walked toward the police cruiser, Canty told the officers that the “guns were his.”  Canty also provided consent for law enforcement to search his vehicle and provided the keys to the officers.  During the search, law enforcement recovered a loaded .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol, loose ammunition, two additional magazines, including a 30-round magazine, located next to the loaded pistol, and $8,010 in cash found in a trash bag.  Both of the .40-caliber pistols had previously been reported as stolen.

As detailed in his plea agreement, Canty knew that as a result of his previous conviction he was prohibited from possessing the three firearms and 99 rounds of ammunition.

Canty and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Canty will be sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.  The parties also agree that the advisory guidelines range for the violation of supervised release is between eight and 14 months, but there is no agreement as to whether that sentence shall be ordered to be served concurrently or consecutively.  U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang has scheduled sentencing for April 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. 

This case is 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.  Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case is 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: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.        

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the ATF and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer R. Sykes, who is prosecuting the case.

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