Dozens of defendants charged with unlawfully possessing machine gun, later granted PR bond

Possessing a machine gun and not registering it with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is a felony crime.

"A machine gun, to me, is kind of serious," said Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers. "I mean who goes around carrying a machine gun."


Criminals are the first to come to mind. 

While combing through court records, we discovered 12 defendants charged with possession of a prohibited weapon - a machine gun.

They were all released from jail on PR bonds or get out of jail free cards.

"This is not only dangerous for the officers who make the arrest. It's dangerous for a lot of people, especially a PR bond, for carrying around a machine gun," said Tim Whitaker, Vice President of the Houston Police Officers Union.


He's only 17 and John Fomba was free from jail on six bonds when he got charged with possessing a machine gun.

"Fomba was out on six bonds in three different counties: Brazos, McLennan, and Chambers County," Kahan said.

Fomba even made headlines in College Station for allegedly stealing catalytic converters.

"How do you grant a PR bond for someone with six charges, five of them felonies," said Kahan.

But that's exactly what happened when Fomba landed in Harris County's 174th District Court. 

A visiting judge gave him a PR bond for the felony charge possession of a prohibited weapon - a machine gun.

"That's hard to believe," said Whitaker. "Multiple arrests you showed me out of several counties, and then he's given a PR bond here in Harris County for having a machine gun? Shocking."

"And then he forfeits his bond, then he was gone for a couple of months. This is a disaster waiting to happen," Kahan said. "Luckily someone picked him up on a bond forfeiture, and he actually remains in county jail."