• 77°

Port Arthur felon guilty of federal firearms violation

BEAUMONT, Texas – A Port Arthur man has pleaded guilty to a federal firearms violation in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei on Monday.

Jesus Antonio Ceja, 30, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm today before U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.

“I am grateful for the good work of the Port Arthur Police Department and the ATF in bringing this matter to a successful conclusion,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.  “Violent felons cannot be allowed to possess firearms, and today’s guilty plea represents another step forward in making the streets of Port Arthur safer.”

According to court documents, on Feb. 9, 2020, law enforcement officers observed a vehicle stopped at an intersection in 5200 block of 15th Street in Port Arthur. As the officer approached the vehicle, he saw the driver, later identified as Ceja, with his head down. The officer drove towards the vehicle to see if the driver was in need of assistance, at which time Ceja looked at the officer and accelerated away at a high rate of speed.  As the officer turned around to follow the vehicle, he saw that Ceja had crashed his vehicle into a pole at the nearby intersection of Lewis and Lakeview streets.  Ceja repeatedly reached under the seat and ignored commands to show his hands and exit the vehicle.  After the officer opened the passenger door, Ceja exited the vehicle and crawled on top of it, refusing to come down.  Once other officers arrived, Ceja came down off the car and told officers there was methamphetamine and a firearm in the car.  Further investigation revealed Ceja was a convicted felon having previously been found guilty of felony escape in Jefferson County in 2008.  As a convicted felon, Ceja is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.

Ceja was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 27, 2021.  He faces up to 10 years in federal prison.  The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.  A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case is being investigated by the Port Arthur Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Quinn.