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Owasco man likely to get 3 years in prison for assault rifle, firearm
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Owasco man likely to get 3 years in prison for assault rifle, firearm

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AUBURN — A 32-year-old Owasco man who was arrested in May for building 'nearly untraceable' weapons with parts he ordered through the mail pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felonies.

Following a three-month investigation, members of multiple law enforcement agencies found handguns, rifles and high capacity ammunition magazines inside Anthony Ranauro's residence at 7133 Owasco Road.

Police said at the time that some of the firearm parts were nearly impossible to trace because they didn't have serial numbers. 

The Cayuga County Sheriff's Office and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, as well as a member of the New York State Police, conducted the initial interview with Ranauro when the items were found on May 10.

He was also investigated last spring for allegedly placing orders to an international company for fake identification documents.

Ranauro entered Cayuga County Court on Tuesday prepared to plead guilty to two of four weapons-related felonies — third-degree criminal possession of an assault weapon and second-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon, which was reduced to be an attempted charge.

He admitted to attempting to possess a loaded black 9 millimeter handgun that he said he "constructed" with parts he ordered. He also possessed a 27 caliber semiautomatic assault rifle he said was used to teach his daughter "firearm safety."

Judge Mark Fandrich promised a conditional sentence of three years in prison to be followed by three years of post-release supervision on both counts, to be served concurrently.

Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann asked Ranauro whether he was aware of various features the assault rifle had, including a pistol grip and a place for a bayonet on the barrel. Though he didn't recall all the listed features, Ranauro didn't dispute it was an assault rifle.

His sentencing is scheduled for May 19.

Also in court:

• A 48-year-old Auburn man admitted he attempted to engage in two sexual acts with someone he believed to be younger than 15 years old.

Ronald Capone, of 7670 State St. Road, will likely spend 10 years on probation and serve the first six months of his sentence in the Cayuga County Jail.

He admitted in court Tuesday that he was in communication with someone he thought was a stepfather of a boy younger than 15 years old, but was actually a member of the FBI.

Capone traveled to Weedsport in order to commit the crimes. "I attempted to meet somebody and it wasn't who I thought it was," he said. 

He pleaded guilty to two counts of the class E felony of second-degree attempted criminal sex acts, which included attempts to engage in oral and anal sexual conduct with the person he believed to be younger than 15.

At the time of Capone's sentencing on May 19, Fandrich will set a deadline for him to pay a number of fines that include a $1,000 supplemental fee, $50 DNA testing fee and a $325 crime victim assistance fee.

An Auburn man convicted of possessing child pornography was deemed a level 2 sex offender, with level 3 being the highest and level 1 being the lowest ranking.

Jeffrey Lee, 49, was convicted of possessing a "substantial" amount of child pornography he download from the internet — one of which included a 5-year-old girl engaged in oral sexual conduct with an adult man.

It was revealed during Tuesday's proceeding that Lee's substantial cache of child pornography consisted of 9,000 images.

On April 2, Fandrich sentenced Lee to spend one to three years in prison for the class E felony. Lee returned to court on Tuesday, ahead of his March 31 release date, to be assessed for his risk of re-offending. 

Lee and defense counsel Michael Vavonese didn't dispute the number of points assigned for the ages of the minors in the pornography, but Vavonese argued the other two ranking categories shouldn't apply in Lee's circumstances.

Vavonese said no points for any number of victims should be added to his client's risk assessment because Lee's crime was only viewing the pornography, not distributing it or reproducing it.

He also requested Fandrich not assign Lee 20 points for being a "stranger" in relation to the minors depicted in the pornography, because Lee never attempted to establish a connection with any of them.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Heather DeStefano argued that Vavonese didn't prove there were "mitigating" factors to reduce the level 2 ranking Lee was assigned by Fandrich earlier in the court proceeding.

The judge ultimately kept the ranking the same, with a total of 80 points.

• A registered sex offender residing in Sodus pleaded guilty to failing to report a change of address, which is a class E felony.

Jeffrey Richmond, 46, currently of 6688 Maxwell Road, admitted failing to report his change of address in April 2018 to the Division of Criminal Justice Services. 

He was promised a conditional sentence of five years on probation, and will be sentenced on May 19. Richmond was previously convicted in 2001 of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree attempted kidnapping in Oswego County.

• For possessing more than 16 ounces of marijuana, an Auburn resident was promised a conditional sentence of five years on probation.

Daniel Lisano, 31, possessed about 4 total pounds of marijuana, Budelmann said in court.

Lisano said during his plea he had more than 1 pound of marijuana on Jan. 2 at his residence at 17 Canoga St., Apt. 1. His admission also satisfied another criminal matter pending in Auburn City Court, as well as uncharged felony sales, Budelmann said.

In exchange for pleading guilty to second-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a class D felony, Lisano avoided a potential maximum sentence of 2.5 years in prison.

Fandrich said Lisano's 2003 Ford Escape will be seized, as well as $1,500 taken during his arrest. His sentencing is scheduled for May 19.

Staff writer Mary Catalfamo can be reached at (315) 282-2244 or mary.catalfamo@lee.net. Find her on Twitter @mrycatalfamo.

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Crime/courts reporter

I cover criminal court, public safety and the Cayuga County government for The Citizen and auburnpub.com. You can also find my health and entertainment features online and in the Lake Life section of the paper.

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