The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of PA released the below:
PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Mario Ramirez, 33, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to 14 years in prison, and three years of supervised release by United States District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter for trafficking weapons, conspiracy, and being a felon in possession of firearms as part of his family’s firearms trafficking ‘business’ in Philadelphia. The defendant committed these crimes while under the supervision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a prior gun offense.
In March 2020, the defendant pleaded guilty to all charged offenses in two separate Indictments. First, in January 2019, the defendant was charged with being a felon in possession of firearms stemming from the recovery of four of the defendant’s firearms which he had stored in his mother’s home in Philadelphia.
Then in October 2019, the defendant was charged with conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license, dealing in firearms without a license, and being a felon in possession of firearms, all stemming from a law enforcement operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in the fall of 2018. During the operation, ATF purchased 35 firearms, including machinegun conversion kits and 11 self-made, non-serialized firearms, in eight transactions from the defendant, who conspired with co-defendant Matthew “Montana” Stephens who had brokered the sales and received a percentage of each sale as a fee.
On March 4, 2021, the defendant’s sister, Elena Ramirez, was sentenced to three years in prison for trafficking firearms and ammunition – sales which were also brokered with the assistance of Stephens.
“Mario Ramirez added to the chaos and carnage on the streets of our city by illegally selling firearms,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “When he was arrested on these charges, his sister stepped in to fill the gap – and now they will both face the consequences of their actions in federal prison.”
“Firearms trafficking continues to help fuel violent gun crime throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division. “Illegally selling firearms presents an obvious threat toward the safety of our communities. Had it not been for the collaborative work between investigators and the United States Attorney’s Office, dozens of firearms would have been on the streets of Philadelphia where they would have been used in an untold number of violent crimes.”
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.
The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Priya T. De Souza.