Aspen man faces federal charges for weapons stockpile
An Aspen resident faces federal charges after being caught with a stash of weapons at the town’s post office. 56-year-old Mauro Emilio Pennini already faces local charges. Now the Department of Justice is prosecuting Pennini. Earlier this month he was busted for stockpiling knives, a handgun, ammunition, and handcuffs at Aspen’s post office.
Pennini appeared in court Thursday in Grand Junction, and is charged with violating a protection order and federal law by having a firearm. If convicted, Pennini faces up to 10 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine for one charge, as well as up to 1 year in federal prison and as much as a $100,000 fine for the other.
Pennini will go before a judge again next Tuesday, June 23rd, for a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing.
Below is the full press release from Thursday June 18th, 2015.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
John F. Walsh
United States Attorney, District of Colorado
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2015
ASPEN POSTAL EMPLOYEE ARRESTED AFTER BEING CAUGHT WITH FIREARM, KNIVES AND HANDCUFFS ON POSTAL PROPERTY
Defendant possessed a firearm in violation of a recent local protection order and in violation of federal law prohibiting firearms on federal property
DENVER – Mauro Emilio Pennini, age 56, of Aspen, a postal employee who worked at an Aspen post office was arrested based on a Criminal Complaint charging him with being the subject of a protection order in possession of a firearm and for possessing a firearm at a federal facility, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General announced. Pennini made his initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Grand Junction today, where he was advised of his rights and the charges pending against him. He is due back in court on June 23, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. in Grand Junction for a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing.
According to the affidavit in support of the Criminal Complaint, the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General received information from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service that a mail processing clerk was arrested in the Aspen Post Office on June 8, 2015 by Aspen Police officers. The clerk, Pennini, was arrested for violating a Civil Protection Order. The order was obtained on May 22, 2015, in Pitkin County District Court in Aspen by a female and two minors. The order, which later became permanent, was issued because the court found that Pennini constitutes a credible threat, that an imminent danger exists to the life and health of the Protected Persons named in the action, and sufficient cause exists for the issuance of a Civil Protection Order. It ordered that Pennini not contact, harass, stalk, injure the protected persons. On June 8, 2015, Pennini sent one of the protected persons a text message, which was the basis for the arrest.
After arrest the defendant asked the police officers to get medication he needed out of his bag, which was kept on Postal property in an unlocked locker. When the police officer went to get the medication at the defendant’s request, he found a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun loaded with 14 rounds of ammunition. He also found a switch-blade knife, 3 folding knives, a multi-purpose tool and knife, two sets of handcuffs and two magazines with 14 rounds of ammunition in each.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to keep postal employees and their customers safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “Possessing a firearm while under a protective order and while on federal property are violations of federal law and will be prosecuted.”
Executive Special Agent in Charge Joanne Yarbrough said, “The American public trusts that U.S. Postal Service employees will obey the law. When an employee of the Postal Service violates that trust, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG) thoroughly investigates those matters. This type of alleged behavior within the Postal Service is not tolerated and the overwhelming majority of Postal Service employees, which serve the public, are honest, hardworking, and trustworthy individuals who would never consider engaging in any type of criminal behavior. The USPS OIG and U.S. Attorney’s Office remain committed to holding accountable anyone responsible for such alleged violations. The public we serve can rest assured that the USPS OIG will continue to ensure the accountability and integrity of U.S. Postal Service employees.”
If convicted, Pennini faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine for being the subject of a protection order in possession of a firearm. He also faces not more than 1 year in federal prison, and up to a $100,000 fine for possessing a firearm at a federal facility.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General.
The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Brown.
A Criminal Complaint is a probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of violating a felony federal law has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a grand jury.
The charges in the Criminal Complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Spokesman, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
303-454-0243 direct; 303-489-2047 cell phone