San Diego Gang Member Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Dealing Methamphetamine and Heroin While Armed with Loaded Firearm

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SAN DIEGO – Jason John Clipper, aka “Smokey,” a member of the East Side San Diego criminal street gang with ties to the Mexican Mafia prison gang, was sentenced today in federal court to 15 years in prison for unlawfully possessing a firearm, possessing methamphetamine and heroin with the intent to distribute, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

Clipper was arrested on March 17, 2018, after San Diego County Probation officers found him in possession of approximately 20 grams of methamphetamine, 8 grams of heroin, and a loaded firearm. At the time of his arrest, Clipper was on Post Release Community Supervision (“PRCS”) for a previous narcotics and firearm conviction in the California Superior Court. In October 2019, Clipper proceeded to trial and was convicted on all charges.

While pronouncing the sentence today, U.S. District Court Judge John A. Houston commented that the “jury got it right” and that Clipper had been a “pox on the community” for the entirety of his adult life. Clipper’s 15-year prison sentence will be followed by four years of supervised release. Clipper was also ordered to forfeit the firearm and ammunition to the United States.

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“Our office collaborates with state and local law enforcement partners to identify cases where federal enforcement is the most effective way to reduce gun crime,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “The sentence issued today accomplished the goals of DOJ’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, which is designed to take the most violent offenders off the streets.” Grossman commended the diligent work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Haden and Kareem Salem and the federal and local law enforcement partners who assisted with this matter.

This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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Felon in Possession of a Firearm, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 922(g) Maximum Penalty: 10 years; 3 years supervised release

Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. Section 841 (a)(1) Maximum Penalty, based on drug amounts: Up to 40 years in prison; 5 year mandatory minimum

Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. Section 841 (a)(1) Maximum Penalty, based on drug amounts: Up to 40 years in prison; 5 year mandatory minimum

Possession of firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 924(c) Maximum Penalty: 60 months mandatory consecutive sentence

DEFENDANT                                            Case Numbers: 18CR2874-JAH

Jason John Clipper, age 43


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

County of San Diego Sheriff’s Department

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San Diego Police Department

San Diego District Attorney’s Office

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