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U.S. v. TORRES

April 28, 2004.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, -against- STEVEN MANUEL TORRES, Defendant


The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT SWEET, Senior District Judge

SENTENCING OPINION

On May 21, 2003, the defendant Steven Manuel Torres ("Torres") pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Illegally Engage in Dealing Firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, a Class D felony, and one count of Illegal Sale of Firearms, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A) and (2), also a Class D felony.

The Offense Conduct

  This statement of facts draws on the Presentence Investigation Report prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

  This investigation was conducted by the NYPD and ATF agents. On January 25, 2002, and January 26, 2002, NYPD officers and ATF agents arranged for the purchase of, and payment for, two sawed-off shotguns from Torres and Antonio Ortiz-Zayas ("Ortiz-Zayas"), by a confidential informant (the "CI") and an undercover police officer (the "C"). On January 25, 2002, the CI, working at the direction of ATF agents, met with Torres and Ortiz-Zayas at Longfellow Avenue in the Bronx, New York, to discuss the possible purchase of shotguns from Ortiz-Zayas. At approximately 7:45 P.M., Torres arrived at the location with Ortiz-Zayas and entered the CI's vehicle carrying a plastic bag which contained two sawed-off shotguns.

  As Torres and Ortiz-Zayas were showing the CI these shotguns, a NYPD cruiser drove past. Seeing the police car, Torres and Ortiz-Zayas quickly got out of the CI's vehicle, leaving the shotguns behind. Shortly thereafter, Torres spoke with the CI on his cellphone and instructed the CI to keep the shotguns and pay for them the following day.

  On January 26, 2002, at approximately 1:30 P.M., the CI and the UC, acting as the purchasers of the two shotguns, arranged to meet Torres and Ortiz-Zayas in the vicinity of East Tremont and Devoe Avenues in the Bronx to pay for the two shotguns. The CI introduced the UC to Torres and Ortiz-Zayas as the sources of the two shotguns. The UC discussed payment for the shotguns with both Torres and Ortiz-Zayas. Torres told the UC the price of the shotguns, and Ortiz-Zayas accepted $1,200 as payment for the shotguns.

  Based on information from law enforcement agents, it was determined that the shotguns purchased by the UC from Torres and Ortiz-Zayas were not and have never been manufactured in New York State. ATF laboratory reports revealed the following about the shotguns recovered:
a. The first shotgun was a New England Firearms 410 gauge single shot, with serial number NB342878;
b. The second shotgun was a J.G. Higgins 12 gauge shotgun, Model 583.1.
  Additionally, three rounds of Remington 12 gauge shotgun shells were seized. A check of the ATF firearm licensee database revealed that Torres and Ortiz-Zayas are not licensed importers, manufacturers, dealers or collectors of firearms or ammunition.

  Further investigation revealed that guns manufactured before 1968 were not required to have serial numbers. As such, the J.G. Higgins 12-gauge shotgun seized from the defendant, was manufactured prior to 1968, and did not have a serial number.

  Torres was arrested and remanded on April 23, 2003.

 Offender Characteristics

  Torres was born in the Bronx in 1978. Torres completed the ninth grade, but elected not to continue his high school education so that he could support his first child, Steven Manual Torres, who is now seven years of age. Torres has been gainfully employed since that time. In 2001, Torres married another woman, but is currently separated.

  Torres reports that he began using marijuana at age 15 and cocaine at 22, but has not received drug treatment. Torres reports that he has not used drugs since his arrest in April 2003.

  Torres reports that he has been employed as a delivery person at a beverage company in the Bronx. Also, from June 1996, Torres has been employed part-time at Skate Key in the Bronx. Torres' ...


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