Rodney Allen Knoble Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls on February 10, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, RODNEY ALLEN KNOBLE, a 23-year-old resident of Missoula, pled guilty to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm. Sentencing is set for May 14, 2009. In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On August 5, 2008 Central Montana Drug Task Force agents were contacted by a cooperating subject (CS) who told them KNOBLE was planning on coming to Great Falls to purchase a 2003 Mustang.
KNOBLE had told the CS he would give the CS a handgun and a small amount of marijuana as down payment for the car. The CS knew KNOBLE lived in Missoula and was on probation for burglary and was concerned about KNOBLE'S possession of a gun.
KNOBLE made a series of calls to the CS and during one of these calls said he was on his was from Missoula and bringing his girlfriend. KNOBLE stated that they had a pistol and marijuana with them. He told the CS he had gotten the gun, a 9 millimeter Smith and Wesson, from a friend who found it in a dumpster at work.
KNOBLE told the CS he knew he wasn't supposed to have a gun so his girlfriend had the only key to the storage box with the gun inside. That way he could claim he had no idea what was inside the storage box in the event of a search.
Through the CS, an agent made arrangements to meet KNOBLE and purchase the firearm. A short time later, agents observed KNOBLE driving a vehicle matching the description of KNOBLE'S girlfriend vehicle enter the parking lot where the transaction was to take place. KNOBLE was then taken into custody on an outstanding probation warrant.
A Smith and Wesson 9 millimeter model 439 pistol was recovered during a search of the vehicle.
KNOBLE'S criminal history confirmed he had two felony burglary convictions in Montana and one felony forgery conviction in Wisconsin.
KNOBLE faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kory Larsen prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Central Montana Drug Task Force, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.