The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 4, 2013

Judge sends 2 to federal prison

JOHNSTOWN — A U.S. judge in Johnstown has sentenced two area men to federal prison, one for firearm and drug violations and the other for a firearm violation.

Michael N. Cooper, 33, of the 100 block of Fairfield Avenue in Johns­town’s Morrellville neighborhood, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Kim R. Gibson to serve 10 years in prison and three years on supervised release for violating federal narcotics and firearms laws, said U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton.

According to information presented to the court, on June 2, 16 and 21, 2011, Cooper distributed less than 100 grams of heroin. On June 23, 2011, he possessed with intent to distribute less than 100 grams of heroin and was found in possession of a rifle and a shotgun.

Cooper had been convicted on June 26, 2012, in Cambria County of delivery of a controlled substance, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

Federal law prohibits people who have been convicted of a crime punishable by an imprisonment exceeding one year from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Umar Shablis Abdul-Ghaffaar, 25, of the 1100 block of Main Street in Franklin, was sentenced by Gibson to 21 months in prison and three years of supervised release on his conviction for violating federal firearms laws, Hickton said.

According to information presented to the court, Abdul-Ghaffaar possessed a .32-caliber revolver on May 19. He had been convicted on Feb. 16, 2006, in Cambria County for carrying a firearm without a license, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie L. Haines prosecuted the case.

Hickton commended the Laurel Highlands office of the FBI, Cambria County Drug Task Force and Johnstown police for the investigation that led to Cooper’s prosecution, and the FBI and city police for the investigation of Abdul-Ghaffaar.

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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