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Final Three Defendants Sentenced In Case Related To Guns Stolen From Blanding Police Department

June 5, 2012

ST. GEORGE – Three defendants convicted of charges following an investigation into the theft of nine handguns from the Blanding Police Department were sentenced in federal court in St. George Monday afternoon. U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart imposed the sentences. A fourth defendant in the case was sentenced in April.

Three days after the August 22, 2011, burglary, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper stopped a vehicle in Salt Lake County and recovered two firearms, one of which was taken in the burglary. Further investigation led law enforcement officers to a home where the remaining guns taken during the burglary were recovered. Officers also found other illegal firearms during the course of the investigation.

Wesley Plexico, age 22, of Cedar City, who pleaded guilty Jan. 23, 2012, to possession of an unregistered sawed-off shotgun, was sentenced Monday to 90 months in federal prison. He will serve 36 months of supervised release when he finishes his prison sentence. Plexico admitted that the illegal weapon was not registered to him and could have readily been put in operable condition.

Federal prosecutors argued for Plexico to be sentenced to 120 months in federal prison - the statutory maximum term of incarceration for his crime. In a sentencing memorandum filed with the Court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew L. Bell said that despite the defendant’s young age, his criminal history reflects a disturbing and escalating trend. Plexico’s convictions include burglaries, drug and alcohol offenses, and crimes of violence demonstrating abject disregard for the law and the rights and safety of others, Bell said. “Despite having already served a 30-month sentence in federal prison at the age of 22, Mr. Plexico has exhibited an inability or unwillingness to stop committing serious crimes,” Bell told the Court.

Plexico, who was convicted in 2009 of possession of a stolen firearm and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, was on supervised release when he committed the firearms offense in the current case. A hearing on the supervised release violation is pending. He could be sentenced to additional prison time if he is found to have violated his conditions of supervised release.

Thomas Richard Dale Goatz, age 22, of Enoch, also pleaded guilty in early January to one count of possession of stolen firearms in connection with the nine guns taken during the Blanding robbery. He was sentenced Monday to 30 months in federal prison with 36 months of supervised release after he finishes his prison term.

Nathan Scott Holliday, age 22, of Cedar City, who pleaded guilty Dec. 12, 2011, to possession of a stolen firearm, was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison Monday. Holliday admitted possessing and disposing of a stolen Winchester shotgun between Aug. 1, 2011, and Aug. 30, 2011, in Iron County. Law enforcement officers believe the weapon was stolen during a home burglary and that Holliday later transferred the shotgun to Plexico.

Matthew Ryan Dudley, age 21, of Washington, who pleaded guilty in January to one count of possession of stolen firearms, was sentenced to 46 months in prison in April. Dudley admitted that between Aug. 22, 2011, and Aug. 25, 2011, he had nine stolen firearms in his possession.

Several agencies participated in the investigation of the case including agents and officers of the Utah Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force, the Blanding Police Department, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, the Utah Highway Patrol, the Cedar City Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Enoch Police Department, and the Iron/Garfield County Major Crimes Task Force.

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