Two county residents prosecuted under federal programTwo local offenders have been prosecuted under a federal program targeting gun use and possession by felons.

Carlton Meade Windsor III, 31, of Warrenton was sentenced in U.S. federal court last month to 37 months in prison on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Roger Wayne McLaughlin, 49, of Astoria, pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon after Astoria Police found a handgun in his car following a traffic stop in February. He is set to be sentenced later this year.

Both men were prosecuted under a federal program, Project Safe Neighborhoods, that allows career criminals arrested for weapons possession to be tried and sentenced under much tougher federal criminal laws.

"These people would probably not have received any significant time, even any jail time, under state statutes," said Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis.

His office identifies cases that could qualify for the program and submits them to the U.S. Justice Department, which can accept or reject them. The program targets career criminals caught with weapons, "not merely someone pulled over for driving while revoked who has a hunting rifle," Marquis said.

Windsor was arrested at his residence last January following a joint investigation by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Warrenton police, who seized 14 weapons while serving a search warrant. Windsor was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a 1995 felony conviction from Maryland for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Windsor was indicted by a federal grand jury in March and on Oct. 25 was sentenced to 37 months in prison without possibility of parole. He is serving his sentence at the federal prison in Sheridan.

McLaughlin was pulled over for a traffic violation Feb. 25 by Astoria police, who found drugs, drug paraphernalia and a .38 revolver after searching his car. He was charged with felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm and carrying a concealed weapon, along with manufacture and possession of a controlled substance. The case was forwarded to federal prosecutors under the Safe Neighborhoods program.

McLaughlin, who was convicted in federal court several years ago for arson in connection with a fire at a local restaurant, has several other prior convictions for drunken driving, delivery of a controlled substance, second-degree burglary, attempt to elude police and driving while revoked.

In Oregon, Project Safe Neighborhoods is overseen by a task force representing law enforcement agencies, the courts and government and community outreach agencies.

The program is aimed specifically at gang-related crime, domestic violence crimes involving guns and armed career criminals - those with three violent felony convictions such as sex abuse, arson, assault, robbery or murder. About 6,800 individuals in Oregon have been identified as armed career criminals.

In Oregon 225 offenders have been sentenced under the program since it began in 2002. The average sentence for those convicted is 50 months in prison, and after release the offenders are supervised under federal parole and probation officers.

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