SAN FRANCISCO – Donnie Yingling was sentenced today in federal court to 84 months in prison for distributing crystal methamphetamine, conspiring to deal in firearms without a license, and related crimes, announced U.S. Attorney Alex G. Tse and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Ray Roundtree. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Susan Illston, Senior U.S. District Judge.
Yingling, 48, of Walnut Grove, Calif., pleaded guilty to the charges on August 23, 2018. According to his plea agreement, Yingling admitted that in March 2017, he knowingly conspired with codefendant Ronald Ahart to sell firearms without a license. Specifically, Yingling admitted that on March 21, 2017, he and Ahart talked by telephone with an undercover officer to arrange the sale of firearms. On March 22, 2017, the codefendants sold five firearms for $4,340 to undercover officers. Further, the defendants sold another six firearms to the undercover officers for $7,000 on March 23, 2017. Yingling admitted that he was not a licensed firearms dealer.
Yingling also admitted that on April 20, 2017 he sold 54.4 grams of actual methamphetamine to undercover officers for $600.
On July 21, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Yingling charging him with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), as well as one count each of conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; dealing with firearms without a license, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A); and distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B)(viii). Yingling pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge, the firearm dealing charge, and the drug distribution charge. Judge Illston dismissed the remaining charges at his sentencing.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Illston ordered Yingling to serve a five year period of supervised release to begin when the prison term has been completed. Yingling has been in custody since November 28, 2017.
On August 3, 2018, the co-conspirator Ahart pleaded guilty to his part in the gun distribution conspiracy and to being a felon in possession of firearms. On November 30, 2018, Judge Illston sentenced Ahart to 46 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his offenses.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Vieira is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Kimberly Richardson. These prosecutions are the result of an investigation by the ATF and are brought as part of “Operation Cold Day,” an effort spearheaded by the ATF to bring federal resources to bear in support of ongoing state and local efforts to combat gun and drug related crime.