FALL RIVER — A gang member from Fall River with a lengthy criminal record has been sentenced to serve up to five years in state prison on illegal firearm charges.

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III announced the sentencing on Wednesday in the following statement to the press.

A 23-year-old Fall River gang member was sentenced to serve four to five years in state prison after being convicted of illegal firearm charges and deemed an Armed Career Criminal by the court, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Mahamadou Kante was convicted after a three day trial in Fall River Superior Court of carrying an illegal firearm and possessing an illegal firearm with a defaced serial number. The defendant was then convicted of being a Level III Armed Career Criminal during a bench trial.

On February 26, 2017, members of the Fall River Police Street Crimes Unit witnessed the defendant operating a motor vehicle and recognize him as a violent gang member without a valid driver's license.

Officers proceeded to a known hang-out where they saw defendant walking out of an alleyway. When the defendant saw the police officers, he crouched by the rear passenger wheel well of a parked vehicle. Officers searched and recovered a loaded .380 handgun with the serial number filed off placed on top of the tire.

Surveillance camera footage exhibited during trial shows the defendant crouching near the wheel well immediately before being arrested.

The case was prosecuted by Co-First Assistant District Attorney Karen O'Sullivan and Assistant District Attorney Zach Mercer.

During a sentencing hearing before Judge William Sullivan, prosecutors argued that the defendant's lengthy criminal record and his continued use of illegal firearms in the City of Fall River warranted a five to seven year state prison sentence. The defendant, however, requested a more lenient three year state prison term.

Judge Sullivan sentenced the defendant to serve four to five years in state prison, followed by three years of supervised probation.

"This case highlights the importance of surveillance video, which was a key to obtaining a conviction in this case. Surveillance shows the defendant crouching next to a tire where gun was located. He is a known gang member who previously assaulted an officer during a drug deal. The sentence will protect the citizens of Fall River from this violent defendant," District Attorney Quinn said.

--Bristol County District Attorney's Office--