bethel man sentenced to six years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of firearms
Anchorage, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that a Bethel man was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage to 72 months in federal prison for his conviction of being a felon in possession of firearms.
On December 8, 2011, Charles Chaney, 27, a resident of Bethel, Alaska, was sentenced by Senior United States District Judge H. Russel Holland. Chaney was convicted by a federal jury on September 28, 2011.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Cavanaugh, who prosecuted the case, the evidence presented at trial established that in Bethel, Alaska, in December 2009, Chaney stole a Bethel Police Department vehicle and drove it recklessly down the frozen Kuskokwim River. Inside the vehicle was a short-barreled, AR-15, semi-automatic duty rifle belonging to the Bethel Police Department. Before abandoning the vehicle on the river outside the village of Napakiak, the defendant fired the duty rifle several times into the bank of the river. Chaney has two prior felony convictions for driving under the influence.
Chaney was joined in this crime by his co-defendant, Alexie Alfred, who was previously sentenced in October 2011 for his role in the offense.
Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Holland stated that the firearm Chaney took and shot was “about as dangerous of a weapon as a person can put their hands on,” and that “the offense was very serious.” Judge Holland noted Chaney had an “awful” criminal record and that Chaney had never been properly “whacked” for all the violence he had brought upon other people.
Chaney was prosecuted as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska’s Rural Prosecution Initiative, a part of the Department of Justice’s commitment to improved public safety for rural Alaska and Alaskan tribal communities.
Ms. Loeffler commended the ATF and the Bethel Police Department for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Chaney.