Public Notices and Press Releases

California Man Receives 87-Month Prison Sentence for Online Gun and Meth Sales

Illegal firearms and methamphetamine traded over the internet leads to a substantial federal sentence.

NEWARK, N.J. Angelo Chavez, a 24-year-old from Manteca, California, has been sentenced to 87 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to unlawfully deal firearms, and distribute methamphetamine. U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi delivered the sentence today in Newark federal court following Chavez's guilty plea.

The case against Chavez began in August 2020 when undercover law enforcement agents initiated contact through a social media platform used by Chavez and his associates to market illegal narcotics and firearms. Over the course of the investigation, which spanned until December 2021, agents managed to purchase a total of 13 firearms from Chavez. Among these were six AR-15s, two equipped with auto sear switches that modified them to fire automatically.

In addition to firearms, the agents also purchased methamphetamine from Chavez, with transactions predominantly conducted using cryptocurrency. The items were then shipped from California to New Jersey. Following his prison term, Chavez will undergo three years of supervised release.

The successful outcome of this case was due to the coordinated efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Newark, led by Postal Inspector in Charge Christopher A. Nielsen, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Ross A. Marchetti.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Vera Varshavsky from the U.S. Attorney’s Criminal Division in Newark represented the government in this pivotal case. U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger highlighted the importance of collaboration among federal agencies in addressing the significant risks posed by the online trafficking of illegal weapons and drugs.

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