Topeka Man Sentenced To 16+ Years In Federal Prison On Gun Charges
KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A man who fired 18 rounds at a house in Topeka during a drive-by shooting has been sentenced to 200 months in federal prison, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Ruben James Zeller, 29, Topeka, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. In his plea, Zeller admitted he unlawfully possessed firearms and used them to commit crimes including a drive-by shooting in September 2010 in Topeka.
“Taking firearms out of the hands of convicted felons is one of my top priorities,” said Grissom, who prosecuted the case himself. “We are sending a clear message: Gun crime means hard time.”
In his plea, Zeller admitted the facts of the case show:
– In October 2010, Zeller threatened an associate who had witnessed and assisted him in other crimes. The associate helped Zeller distribute firearms in Lawrence and Topeka and he knew that Zeller was a convicted felon who was prohibited by federal law from possessing a gun. When the associate was slow to repay money he owed Zeller, Zeller threatened to kill him.
– In September 2010, Zelle possessed two firearms, a black semi-automatic 9 mm handgun and a silver colored revolver. A witness saw Zelle load the 9 mm handgun and shoot 18 rounds at the Topeka residence of Jeff Cook in an attempt to kill Cook and his sister, Jaime.
– Zelle was photographed at Walmart along with another man when they purchased Remington 9mm ammunition.
Grissom commended the Lawrence Police Department for their work on the case.