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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BETH PHILLIPS


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

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


NOVEMBER 16, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PROJECT CEASEFIRE


LAKE TAPAWINGO MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS

FOR ILLEGAL FIREARM


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Lake Tapawingo, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing a firearm.


            Johnathan R. Cope, 32, of Lake Tapawingo, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to 15 years and 10 months in federal prison without parole. Cope was sentenced as a career offender due to his prior felony convictions.


            On June 23, 2010, Cope pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Cope admitted that he was in possession of a Jimenez Arms .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol on May 12, 2010.


            Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Cope has prior felony convictions for burglary, robbery, domestic assault and resisting arrest.


            Cope was arrested on a state parole violation on May 12, 2010, while he was standing outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Independence, Mo. Police officers searched Cope and located the loaded pistol in Cope’s right front pants pocket.


            This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


Project Ceasefire

            Project Ceasefire, launched in October 1999, is a cooperative initiative by federal and local law enforcement and the Kansas City Crime Commission that targets for federal prosecution persons who unlawfully use or possess firearms.



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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

http://www.justice.gov/usao/mow/index.html