News and Press Releases

Felon Robbed Bank in Clown Hat, Sold Guns and Meth to Police Informant

March 30, 2007

MARK L. HAMPTON, 42, of Longview, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 75 months in prison and three years of supervised release for Bank Robbery, being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Sale of a Firearm to a Convicted Felon and Distribution of Methamphetamine. U.S. District Judge Franklin D. Burgess imposed the sentence.

HAMPTON was brought into federal custody on September 29, 2006, and entered a guilty plea in the case on November 21, 2006. According to the plea agreement, on March 2, 2006, in Kelso, Washington, HAMPTON sold an Israel Arms International (I.A.I) .30 rifle to a man he knew was a convicted felon. The man was working as an informant for the Longview Police. HAMPTON was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of his prior felony convictions for Possession of Cocaine (1988), Delivery of Methamphetamine (1995), Delivery of Cocaine and Bail Jumping (1999). On March 2, 9, and 15, 2006, HAMPTON sold methamphetamine to the informant working for the Longview Police Department. On August 3, 2006, HAMPTON entered a branch of Columbia Bank in Longview wearing a clown hat and carrying a gift bag with silk flowers. HAMPTON placed the bag on the counter and told the teller to “fill the bag with money.” HAMPTON ran from the bank with nearly $2,000 in cash. In the bank parking lot, HAMPTON lost the hat and dropped the bag scattering money in the area. HAMPTON was chased down and caught by police a few blocks away. About $1,000 of the money was never recovered.

HAMPTON was prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Unveiled by President George W. Bush in May 2001, Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), is a comprehensive and strategic approach to gun law enforcement. PSN is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking both new and existing local programs that target gun crime and then providing them with the resources and tools they need to succeed. Implementation at the local level -- in this case, in Cowlitz County-- has fostered close partnerships between federal, state and local prosecutors and law enforcement.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives and the Longview Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William H. Redkey, Jr.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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