News and Press Releases

Ryan Neale Spooner Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on November 12, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, RYAN NEALE SPOONER, a 27-year-old resident of Billings, pled guilty to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm. Sentencing is set for February 11, 2010. He is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Zink, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On March 19, 2004, SPOONER was sentenced for possession of a Schedule II controlled substance in the State of Colorado, thereby prohibiting him from possession of firearms.

On April 23, 2009, a Yellowstone County Sheriff's deputy was sent to a neighborhood for a reported suspicious person and vehicle. The neighborhood had been beset with burglaries and thefts during this time frame. The deputy located the vehicle and the suspicious person and contacted the occupant, identified as SPOONER. The deputy noted several items in SPOONER'S vehicle that appeared out of place and he asked about them. SPOONER said he was a recovering heroin addict and was pawning numerous items "to survive." The deputy later learned SPOONER was a convicted felon and checked his pawn transaction history where he learned SPOONER pawned two firearms on March 23, 2009. These were identified as a Winchester Ranger 120 12 gauge shotgun and a Mossberg by Kayman Art S.S. 20 gauge shotgun. Further investigation showed SPOONER unsuccessfully tried to redeem the two shotguns out of pawn on April 28, 2009. On the 4473 form, SPOONER falsely stated that he was not a convicted felon.

SPOONER faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office 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.



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