News and Press Releases

Convicted Felon with Controversial Past Convicted of Possessing Machine Guns

May 4, 2007

KEITH D. GILBERT, 66, of Seattle, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 97 months in prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Manufacture Unregistered Firearms, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, seven counts of Possession of a Machine Gun, and two counts of Possession of an Unregistered Firearm. GILBERT was convicted following a four-day trial in September 2006. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman noted the huge quantity of weapons saying, “the court used buffet tables to display Mr. Gilbert’s stash.”

GILBERT was arrested February 15, 2005 during the execution of a search warrant on his home in the Roosevelt neighborhood of Seattle. Inside the home authorities found 74 firearms, some of them are fully automatic machine guns and some are short barreled guns. GILBERT was prohibited from possessing any firearms due to two 1966 convictions in California for Possession of Stolen Property and Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Prior to the search, GILBERT sold four firearms, including two machine guns, to a confidential informant working for law enforcement.

GILBERT moved to the Seattle area from North Idaho where he once served as an aid to the leader of the Aryan Nations white separatist group. GILBERT split off from the Aryan Nations to form his own neo-Nazi group in the 1970s. In the 1960's, GILBERT served several years in prison in California after he was found with 1,400 pounds of stolen dynamite in his Los Angeles apartment. Authorities at the time believed the dynamite was part of a plot to kill Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. GILBERT has since confirmed the plot.

In asking for a lengthy sentence, prosecutors wrote to the court that laws preventing felons from owning guns and preventing possession of unregistered machine guns are aimed at protecting the public. “If there is anyone ... who should be seriously punished for violating (these laws), it is a man who formed a church based on racism and proudly claimed responsibility when one of his followers committed three hate-crime murders, a man who obtained 1,400 pounds of dynamite that he planned to use to kill Martin Luther King, and a man who himself shot at and attempted to kill a person based on that person’s race,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

Judge Pechman said that the eight-year sentence was sufficient to protect the public given GILBERT’s age and declining health. Judge Pechman said the arsenal of weapons and ammunition in a home posed a danger in case of fire or a lure to burglars. She noted that she was especially concerned that the cache of weapons was across from Roosevelt High School in Seattle.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Friedman and Special Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Colasurdo. Mr. Colasurdo is a King County Deputy Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute gun cases in federal court.

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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