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East Texas News

Port Arthur Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Firearms Violation

A Port Arthur man, DeShawn Ranard Willis, 42, has been sentenced to federal prison for a firearms violation in the Eastern District of Texas. The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs.

Willis pleaded guilty on May 18, 2023, to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone on April 15, 2024.

According to court information, Willis was arrested on Dec. 29, 2021, after a Port Arthur Police Department officer stopped the vehicle he was driving for a defective headlight on Gulfway Drive. Willis confessed to having a firearm under the driver’s seat. Police recovered the loaded pistol, containing 15 rounds of ammunition. Further investigation revealed that Willis had six prior felony convictions, making him prohibited by federal law from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition. Willis was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 8, 2022, and charged with firearms violations.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program aimed at reducing violent crime and gun violence by bringing together law enforcement and communities. The department launched a violent crime reduction strategy on May 26, 2021, strengthening PSN based on principles such as fostering community trust, supporting violence prevention organizations, setting enforcement priorities, and measuring results.

The investigation was conducted by the Port Arthur Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, with prosecution led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph R. Batte.

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