Neftali Melendez, 26, of Woonsocket, pled guilty today in U.S. District Court in Providence to federal firearms charges for illegally selling firearms during an undercover investigation by ATF and the Woonsocket Police Department into the trafficking of firearms in Woonsocket.
Melendez’s guilty plea to two counts of felon in possession of a firearm, as charged in a federal indictment returned on March 28, 2012, was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Guy N. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Boston Field Office; and Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas A. Carey. No plea deal was filed in this matter.
At today’s change-of-plea hearing before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr, Melendez admitted to the court that on June 27, 2011, he sold a .25 caliber, semi-automatic pistol for $550 dollars; and on Aug. 18, 2011, he sold a .38 caliber revolver and ammunition for $800 dollars. Both transactions were video recorded by law enforcement agents.
Melendez, who has been detained since his arrest on March 29, 2011, is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18, 2012. Felon in possession of a firearm is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison; 3 years supervised release; and a fine of $250,000 on each count.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose.