Kansas Grand jury returns indictments in ‘Project Guardian’ gun cases

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Kansas Grand jury charges on guns

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A grand jury in Wichita returned two indictments Tuesday charging federal gun crimes under the Justice Department’s new initiative called Project Guardian, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

“We are working closely with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute gun crimes as part of Project Guardian,” U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

Project Guardian calls for strict enforcement of federal firearms laws, as well as improved information sharing on denials of firearms transfers in an effort to disrupt potential mass shootings.

Project Guardian also emphasizes the use of modern intelligence tools and technology such as the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) to investigate and prevent gun crime.

Tuesday’s firearms indictments include the following:

Rigoberto Ferrel Jr., 27, Garden City, Kan., is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The crimes are alleged to have occurred Aug. 20, 2019, in Finney County, Kan. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 and not less than five years and a fine up to $5 million on the drug charge. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Treaster is prosecuting.

Vario Jesus Portillo-Salinas, 26, Liberal, Kan., is charged with two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in July and August 2019 in Seward County, Kan. If convicted, he could face a penalty of not less than 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $10 million on each of the drug counts, not less than five years and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and up to 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Treaster is prosecuting.

Gonzalo Sandoval-Vizcaino, 45, Oxnard, Calif., is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. The crime is alleged to have occurred Nov. 2, 2019, in Ellis County, Kan. If convicted, he could face a penalty of not less than 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $10 million. The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Katie Andrusak is prosecuting.

Miguel Angel Ramirez, 29, is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The crime is alleged to have occurred Dec. 2, 2019, in Seward County, Kan. If convicted, he could face a penalty of not less than 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $10 million. The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch is prosecuting.

Kimberly A. Kirchner, 37, Atlanta, Kan., is charged with embezzling funds from the U.S. Postal Service while she was an employee. The crime is alleged to have occurred during a period from Sept. 23, 2019, to Jan. 3, 2020, in Cowley County, Kan. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The U.S. Postal Service – Office of Inspector General investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch is prosecuting.

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