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Massachusetts man sentenced to serve 18 months in state prison on illegal firearm charge

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Massachusetts man was found guilty in Providence County Superior Court and sentenced to serve 18 months at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI), stemming from his arrest in July 2018 by the Pawtucket Police Department for carrying a pistol without a permit.

Jason Ortiz (age 22) of Brockton, MA, was found guilty, following a one-day jury-waived trial, of carrying a pistol without a license.

At the conclusion of the trial, presided over by Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause, the Court sentenced Ortiz to five years at the ACI with 18 months to serve and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation.

"Given the facts of this case a tenuous domestic relationship and a loaded firearm the ultimate outcome could have been far worse. The takeaway from cases like this one is that there are too many illegal guns out there, and too many people engaged in criminal activity with loaded guns at the ready. As we have seen in our urban core and beyond, that combination has led repeatedly to confrontation, and oftentimes serious violence," said Attorney General Neronha. "I am grateful to the Pawtucket Police Department who acted quickly to resolve a dangerous situation."

At trial, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that on July 24, 2018, Ortiz was arrested by the Pawtucket Police Department for possessing a pistol without a permit, during the department's response to a domestic disturbance at a home on High Street.

That day, officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance involving Ortiz and his significant other. Officers learned that Ortiz fled the home and began a search for him in the vicinity of High Street.

When officers located Ortiz a short time later, he attempted to elude them on foot through downtown Pawtucket, including a chase through the Pawtucket Public Library. Officers eventually caught up with Ortiz and arrested him.

At the time, officers found a Ruger LCP .380 semi-automatic pistol, loaded with six rounds, in the street. During their investigation, officers used video footage from area surveillance cameras to determine that Ortiz removed the pistol from his pants during the pursuit and threw it on the ground nearby where he was eventually arrested.

The Rhode Island Department of Health conducted DNA testing and determined that Ortiz's DNA matched that of a sample taken from the gun.

"There are far too many illegal guns on our streets. The Pawtucket Police Department is committed to eliminating illegal firearms in the city and protecting our residents," said Pawtucket Police Chief Tina Goncalves.

Special Assistant Attorney General Edward G. Mullaney of the Office of the Attorney General and Detective Jeffrey Furtado of the Pawtucket Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of the case.

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