The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio filed 176 illegal-firearms indictments last year as part of Project Safe Neighborhood, including several involving people from the Youngstown area.
U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach announced Wednesday that most indictments filed came out of the Cleveland office with 86. Cleveland was followed by the Toledo office with 31, the Akron office with 30, and the Youngstown office with 29.
There were 146 defendants sentenced last year for firearms crimes, and the average sentence was more than six years in prison.
Featured in a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office were three Youngstown men — Isiah Taylor III, Tyrone Gilbert and Rodney Moses.
Taylor was sentenced to seven years in prison last year after his conviction for brandishing a firearm during a crime. That sentence is being served concurrent to a sentence of more than 10 years related to more than 40 armed robberies he committed in Akron, Warren, Boardman, Alliance and Youngstown as well as other locations.
Gilbert and Moses were charged in June with being felons in illegal possession of firearms and ammunition as part of a broader investigation into a criminal enterprise that dealt heroin in the Youngstown area.
“This office places a high priority on keeping firearms out of the hands of those who are forbidden by law from obtaining them,” Dettelbach said. “Whether it is a person using a gun to commit a violent crime, a felon illegally obtaining a firearm or a straw purchaser trying to circumvent the law, we will aggressively pursue those who would violate our nation’s firearms laws.”
Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun and gang crime in America by networking local programs that target gun and gun crime and providing those programs with additional tools necessary to be successful.
Since its inception in 2001, about $2 billion has been committed to the initiative.
The funding for the PSN program is being used to hire new federal and state prosecutors, support investigators, provide training, distribute gun-lock safety kits, deter juvenile gun crime and develop and promote community outreach efforts as well as to support other gun and gang violence reduction strategies, Dettelbach said.