Previously Convicted Felon Sentenced for Unlawful Possession of Firearm

FirearmImage by Mike Gunner

PHILADELPHIA, PA — United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Kenneth Blakeney, 29, of Philadelphia, PA, was recently sentenced to nine years in prison and three years of supervised release by United States District Court Judge Gene E. K. Pratter for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

In June 2021, the defendant was convicted at trial for being a felon in possession of a gun stemming from an incident the previous year. In March 2019, Philadelphia Police Officers found a loaded gun in the defendant’s possession during a traffic stop. The defendant was a convicted felon and was not allowed by law to possess a firearm. When officers attempted to recover the gun, the defendant fled from the police, leading officers on a car chase for multiple blocks until the defendant eventually jumped out of his car and ran. The defendant was arrested several months later and was charged by Indictment in October 2019.

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“Being a felon illegally in possession of a firearm is a serious offense, particularly in Philadelphia where gun violence is rampant,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “[This] sentence should serve as an example to others who have previously been convicted of felony offenses and are considering carrying firearms: our ‘All Hands on Deck’ initiative uses every law enforcement tool at our disposal to find and stop you. If you choose to illegally carry a firearm, you are going to face serious federal charges.”

“[This] sentence ensures that a violent criminal is taken off the streets for a long time,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division. “Keeping our communities safe from violent felons like Blakeney will always be our top priority. I would like to thank our partners at the Philadelphia Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s office for their continued support in our joint effort to maintaining public safety.”

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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 J. Jeanette Kang.

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