Kevin Patrick Ward Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on March 31, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, KEVIN PATRICK WARD, a 30-year-old resident of Great Falls, appeared for sentencing. WARD was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 33 months
- Special Assessment: $100
- Supervised Release: 3 years
WARD was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kory Larsen, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On December 12, 1997, WARD was convicted in the state of Illinois of two counts of felony theft and one count of felony burglary and another felony theft on April 12, 2000. Illinois has an absolute restriction of the right to possess a firearm by a felon and requires an application or affirmative restoration which had not occurred in either case.
During an investigation into drug trafficking, prostitution and extortion at a bar in Great Falls, an undercover officer became acquainted with WARD who had worked in the bar for a short time.
During an operation on May 21, 2008, to bolster the undercover agent's cover and show him to be involved in illegal activity, WARD traveled with the undercover agent to what WARD believed to be a transfer of illegal firearms. Everyone involved except for WARD was a law enforcement agent and the firearms involved were actually realistic looking mock Mac-10 machine guns from the ATF.
Prior to traveling to the location of the transfer, the undercover agent asked WARD if he was "packing" and WARD replied "Always." WARD removed the loaded magazine from a pistol he pulled from his waistband and handed the handgun to the undercover officer. The undercover officer identified it as a Hi-Point 9 millimeter semi-automatic nine millimeter handgun.
The two talked about the gun and WARD said it was a "legal" gun that his girlfriend bought in Great Falls, but it wasn't legal for him, which the undercover officer believed was due to WARD's prior felony conviction.
Later, the two met when WARD was looking for money to finance a trip out of state to purchase marijuana. The undercover officer offered to buy the handgun from WARD. WARD sold the handgun to the undercover officer for $250. WARD pulled the gun from where he had it concealed in his waistband and handed it to the undercover officer who saw that it was loaded. The firearm was a Hi-Point, Model C9, 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistol.
The undercover officer recognized it as the same handgun WARD had been carrying on May 21. WARD told the undercover officer to alter or remove the serial number from the gun so his girlfriend would not get into trouble.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that WARD will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, WARD does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, the Great Falls Police Department and the Cascade County Sheriff's Office.
This conviction is yet another important outcome from Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national priority of the United States Department of Justice. PSN is designed as a partnership between federal and local law enforcement to reduce violent crime and gun-related crime through the vigorous enforcement of the criminal provisions of the federal firearms laws. In Montana, the effort under PSN is called "Catch and No Release."