YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Youngstown police Wednesday reported finding a 9mm handgun loaded with an extended magazine as well as a loaded magazine for a semiautomatic rifle.
Junior Blair, 22, of Falls Avenue, is in the Mahoning County Jail on charges of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle and being a felon in possession of a firearm after he was arrested about 4:55 p.m. at West Indianola Avenue and Cain Street.
He is expected to be arraigned Friday in municipal court, but police Chief Robin Lees said he already asked the officer assigned to the federal Violent Crimes Task Force to review the case and see if the U.S. Attorney’s Office will prosecute.
Sentences on gun charges in federal court are more severe than at the common pleas level.
Officers Luis Villaplana and Alex Wharry were on patrol and pulled over a car Blair was driving for running a stop sign, according to a report.
Reports said Blair did not have a driver’s license and was also slightly argumentative with police. He was told to get out of the car because it was being towed because Blair did not have a license.
Police searched the car and reported finding the gun, the extended magazine and the magazine loaded with 30 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, which is commonly used in AK-47 type semiautomatic rifles.
When answering questions on a form officers fill out when someone is arrested on a gun charge, Blair answered “it’s not mine” on every question, reports said.
Court records show Blair was sentenced in December of 2017 in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on charges of burglary and robbery for a 2016 case. He was granted judicial release in August of 2018 and placed on five years probation. His arrest Wednesday violates that probation.
Lees credited the officers for being proactive. He said the case is “tailor made” for federal prosecution because of the extended magazine and Blair’s past criminal history.
In state court, the maximum sentence someone could receive for being a felon in possession of a firearm is three years. In federal court, the sentence is higher, and if certain qualifications are met, a defendant can be given a sentence of 10 years in prison.
“It would appear ideal for a person with a criminal record like his [Blair’s],” Lees said.