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Man sentenced on firearm possession

An Oakes, N.D., man was sentenced Thursday on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to the U.S. attorney's office. The charge was in connection with an Aug. 9, 2009, standoff with police in Oakes.

Francisco Angel Castro, also known as Frank Castro, 36, pleaded guilty on Dec. 21, 2009, to being a felon in possession of a Hatsan Arms Company, Model Escort, 12-gauge shotgun. He was prohibited from possessing the shotgun after having previously been convicted of gross sexual imposition, a Class A felony, on or about Feb. 27, 1998, in Sargent County District Court, North Dakota.

At approximately 6 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2009, Castro returned to his residence in Oakes after a night of drinking. Authorities said he assaulted his wife, with young children being present, and broke her cell phone when she attempted to call 911. Castro then physically forced his wife to leave the house without the children and threatened to kill the children and himself if she called the police. He told his wife that he would kill anyone who came in the house.

When an Oakes police officer responded to the scene and knocked on the door, Castro stated, "I'll kill you." A standoff ensued and the house was surrounded by law enforcement, including assisting officers from the Dickey County Sheriff's Department and the James Valley Special Operations Team, which includes officers from the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Jamestown Police Department, Valley City Police Department and James River Corrections Negotiations Team. The standoff lasted approximately nine hours before Castro surrendered without further incident. The shotgun was found during a consent search of the house after Castro's surrender.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Ralph R. Erickson sentenced Castro to 14 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Castro was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Crime Victim's Fund. He requested to surrender voluntarily to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. He was ordered by Erickson to report to his designated prison facility on May 12, 2010.

The federal firearms case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with assistance from the Oakes Police Department and other agencies involved in the standoff.

State charges against Castro in connection with the Aug. 9, 2009, incident are pending in North Dakota District Court in Dickey County.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott J. Schneider prosecuted the case.

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