Duly Noted

Sixth man sentenced for stealing firearms

Twenty-seven-year-old Keondre McNeely, of Kalamazoo, was sentenced to 96 months in prison for possessing a stolen firearm, Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced July 18. McNeely played a central role in transporting and trafficking 21 firearms stolen in November 2015 from Outpost Guns, a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL) in Sturgis. Of those, thirteen were large-capacity magazine assault rifles.

Hon. Robert J. Jonker, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, noted that the defendant was a “key conduit” for putting the stolen firearms into circulation.
Although the defendant had a limited criminal history, with no prior felony convictions, the Court emphasized the seriousness of his conduct; by his involvement in moving and trafficking the stolen firearms, the defendant put a lot of people “in harm’s way.”

Five other people have been sentenced to prison for their roles. Three Kalamazoo residents were convicted of possessing one of the Outpost Guns as a previously convicted felon: Kenneth Williams, sentenced to 96 months; Ronald Dafney, sentenced to 72 months; and Kevonte McNeely, sentenced to 60 months. Jorel Gefferard, Sturgis, was sentenced to 84 months, following conviction for stealing the firearms from Outpost Guns; and Roscoe Manns, Sturgis, was sentenced to 54 months, following conviction for possession of firearms stolen from Outpost.

Birge commented: “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to investigating and prosecuting every link in the chain that leads to stolen guns on our streets—from those who steal from gun stores in the first place, to those who help conceal and move stolen firearms, to the sellers of stolen guns, and to the buyers.” Stolen firearms are, by nature, crime guns, and they typically end up in the hands of people with criminal records who are prohibited from buying guns and would otherwise not be in possession of them. “Keondre McNeely and his codefendants put 21 stolen guns on the street and there is no telling when one or more of those firearms might be used in a violent way. If you steal guns from an FFL, if you sell stolen guns, or if you buy or possess a stolen gun, this Office is going to do what it can to ensure a lengthy prison term that reflects the seriousness and dangerousness of these crimes.”

“Stolen guns are being used in violent crimes that destroy not only families, but the fabric of our communities,” said interim Special Agent in Charge Thomas Chittum. “ATF [Bureau of Alco-
hol Tobacco and Firearms] will use the full scope of our resources to find those responsible for the theft and trafficking of illegal firearms so they can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Zell prosecuted the case.