2 Smith County men guilty of federal firearms violations

William Polk Vaught. Photo Source: Smith County
William Polk Vaught. Photo Source: Smith County

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Released by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Texas:

TYLER, Texas –  U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that two Smith County men have pleaded guilty to separate firearms violations in the Eastern District of Texas.

WILLIAM POLK VAUGHT, 38, of Whitehouse, Texas, and JUSTIN DITMORE, 26, of Tyler, each pleaded guilty to possession of an unregistered firearm today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie.

According to information presented in court, Vaught and Ditmore were each arrested after being charged in separate indictments returned by a federal grand jury in Feb. 2010, charging them with possession of an unregistered firearm, specifically a sawed-off shotgun.  Evidence presented in court showed that Vaught was in possession of a sawed-off shotgun on July 23, 2009.  In a separate case, Ditmore admitted to selling a sawed-off shotgun on May 1, 2009.  It is against federal law to possess an unregistered shotgun with an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel of less than 18 inches.

This conviction is yet another important outcome from Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national priority of the United States Department of Justice. PSN is designed as a partnership between federal and local law enforcement to reduce violent crime and gun-related crime through the vigorous enforcement of the criminal provisions of the federal firearms laws.

Vaught and Ditmore each face up to 10 years in federal prison at sentencing.  Sentencing dates have not been set.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and the ATF and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Middleton.