“Operation 922” Results in Four Federal Indictments Related to Domestic Violence
OKLAHOMA CITY — In the first two weeks of December, federal grand juries returned four separate and unrelated indictments in cases involving domestic violence, announced Robert J. Troester of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. These prosecutions involving domestic violence are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the Department of Justice’s national violent crime reduction initiative aimed at making our communities safer and more secure.
PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders works together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally-based prevention and re-entry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
“Operation 922” is the local implementation of the national PSN initiative in the Western District of Oklahoma. As part of “Operation 922,” federal prosecutors focus on enforcing federal laws to keep firearms out of the hands of those Congress has precluded from possessing firearms. “Operation 922” specifically focuses on domestic violence abusers who are subject to a victim protection order or restraining order (VPO), or who have been previously convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
Section 922 of Title 18 of the United States Code prohibits those specific offenders from possessing firearms or ammunition. In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutes cases in Indian Country, including domestic abuse acts involving strangulation, as well as cases in which a firearm or other weapon is used.
“We cannot have safe neighborhoods without first having safe homes,” said Mr. Troester. “We are bringing the power of federal prosecution to help protect women and children who are the subject of repeated abuse and violence, particularly when that violence escalates to a place where firearms or weapons are involved. We are proud to partner with and assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement and prosecutors, who are already working tirelessly to combat the epidemic of domestic violence in Oklahoma.”
Since “Operation 922” began in March of this year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has brought charges in 35 cases involving domestic violence. In the first two weeks of December, federal grand juries returned the following four indictments in separate and unrelated cases involving domestic violence:
- AUSTIN ISRAEL SANDERS, 23, of Weatherford, Oklahoma, was indicted on December 4, 2018, for illegally possessing a 9mm, semi-automatic pistol on July 20, 2018, while being subject to a victim protection order issued out of Custer County, Oklahoma, that restrained him from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner. If convicted, Sanders faces up to ten years in federal prison, up to a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release upon release from prison.
- RONALD BENTON, 46, of Temple, Oklahoma, was charged on December 12, 2018, with the illegal possession of a 9mm caliber pistol on June 15, 2018, in Cotton County, Oklahoma, after having been previously convicted of battery on a household member in 2007 in New Mexico. If convicted, Benton faces up to ten years in federal prison, up to a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release upon release from prison.
- SHANE MICHAEL GLISSON, 38, of Tuttle, Oklahoma, was indicted on December 12, 2018, for illegally possessing multiple shotguns, a rifle, and ammunition on October 26, 2018, in Cleveland County, Oklahoma, while he was subject to a Cleveland County victim protection order that restrained him from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner. If convicted, Sanders faces up to ten years in federal prison, up to a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release upon release from prison.
- JAMES DEAN LAMAR LAFOUNTAIN, 24, of Seiling, Oklahoma, was indicted on December 12, 2018, on two counts: assaulting his spouse with a dangerous weapon (a knife), and assaulting his spouse by attempting to strangle and suffocate her on November 25, 2018, in Indian Country. If convicted, Lafountain faces on each count up to ten years in federal prison, up to a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release upon release from prison.
Please note that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
These cases are the result of investigations conducted by the Weatherford Police Department, the Moore Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Bureau of Indian Affairs – Office of Justice Services, and the Dewey County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Wilson McGarry is prosecuting the cases against Sanders and Benton. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Hutzell is prosecuting the case against Glisson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Cárdenas is prosecuting the case against Lafountain.
WE WANT TO THANK ALL THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE DEDICATED THEIR LIVES TO KEEPING OUR COUNTRY SAFE.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!