bethel man convicted by federal jury for being a felon in possession of a firearm
Anchorage, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that after deliberating less than two hours, a federal jury in Anchorage found a Bethel man guilty of one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
On September 28, 2011, Charles Chaney, 27, a resident of Bethel, Alaska, was convicted at trial before Senior United States District Judge H. Russel Holland.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Kelly Cavanaugh, who prosecuted the case, the evidence presented at trial established that in Bethel, in December 2009, Chaney stole a Bethel Police vehicle and drove it recklessly down the frozen Kuskokwim River. Inside the vehicle was a short-barreled, semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, belonging to the Bethel Police Department. Before abandoning the vehicle on the river outside the village of Napakiak, the defendant fired the rifle several times into the bank of the river. It was proven in court that in December 2004, Chaney was convicted twice of felony charges for driving under the influence.
Judge Holland scheduled sentencing for December 8, 2011. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of the defendant. Chaney will remain in custody pending sentencing.
Chaney is being prosecuted as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Rural Prosecution Initiative, a part of the Department of Justice’s commitment to improved public safety for rural Alaska and Alaskan tribal communities.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Bethel Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the conviction of Chaney.