doj.gif

NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


JANUARY 18, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


JURY CONVICTS BILLINGS MAN FOR

MARIJUANA, ILLEGAL FIREARMS


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Billings, Mo., man has been convicted by a federal jury for distributing marijuana in Christian County, Mo., and illegally possessing several firearms.


            Joseph Mehl, 48, of Billings, was found guilty on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008, of distributing marijuana, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, being a drug user in possession of firearms and possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.


            Mehl was arrested on Jan. 8, 2007, following several controlled drug transactions. When law enforcement officers arrived to execute a search warrant at his residence, Mehl was located asleep in his bed; laying nearby, in Mehl’s clothing, were three loaded handguns, each with a bullet chambered. Nine loaded rifles were found in various locations throughout the house, placed near each window and door to the home. Officers also recovered approximately two pounds of dried marijuana along with 27 live marijuana plants. Drying marijuana was recovered from Mehl’s shower.


            Under federal statutes, Mehl could be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison on the conviction of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, to be served consecutively to the marijuana convictions, for which he could be subject to an additional sentence of up to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Mehl could also be subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole for being a drug user in possession of firearms. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and COMET (the Combined Ozarks Multi-jurisdictional Enforcement Team).


****************

This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html