Jury convicts Elk Creek man of illegal firearms, growing marijuana
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Elk Creek, Mo., man was convicted in federal court today of illegally possessing firearms and growing marijuana.
Richard D. Price, 57, of Elk Creek, was found guilty of both charges contained in a June 22, 2010, federal indictment. The jury also returned a verdict that Price must forfeit all of the guns and ammunition that was seized to the government.
In August 2009, law enforcement officers found two locations where a total of 30 marijuana plants were being cultivated near Price’s residence in Texas County, Mo. Video surveillance of the grow sites identified Price harvesting and tending the plants.
Price was arrested on Oct. 6, 2009. Officers executed a search warrant of his one-room residence and found five loaded firearms and 1,800 rounds of ammunition, as well as a large quantity of freshly dried marijuana, marijuana branches hanging to dry, and processed marijuana and paraphernalia. Three rifles and a shotgun were each placed in a corner of the room, and a .38-caliber revolver was placed in a flat recess above the front door. Officers also searched an old motor home camper that was parked behind the residence and was being used for storage, and found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun that was hung above the door.
Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who is an addict or user of a controlled substance, or who has been convicted of a felony, to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Price has a prior felony conviction for selling marijuana.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Springfield deliberated about 45 minutes before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple, ending a trial that began Monday, April 25, 2011.
Under federal statutes, Price is subject to a sentence of up to 15 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. 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 Bryan Freres and Assistant U.S. Attorneys David P. Rush and Cynthia Hyde. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Texas County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.