News and Press Releases

Agrees to Forfeit $150,000 to Government

August 14, 2009

KEITH DENNIS GETTE, 59, of Woodland, Washington, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Tacoma today to serve a term of three months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, including three months of electronic home monitoring. In addition, he will forfeit $150,000 to the federal government.

The case arose from a search by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) of GETTE’s residence at 236 Copper Creek Road on May 8, 2008. A federal warrant authorized a search for evidence of the crime of unlawfully engaging in the business of manufacturing and dealing in the sale of explosive material.

As a result of the search, agents seized approximately 330 pounds of bulk flash powder and hundreds of completed explosive devices described as M-100s, M-200s, M-1000s, and M-5000 (depending on the amount of flash powder in the device) weighing over 500 pounds. In addition, the agents seized precursor chemicals used in making flash powder, as well as equipment and tools designed to manufacture the explosive devices. Inquiries with the appropriate state and federal agencies confirmed that the defendant had never possessed the necessary licenses to manufacture or deal in explosive devices.

Gette admitted that he was engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling illegal explosive devices in the form of fireworks. Agents interviewed several witnesses, all of whom confirmed the defendant’s admission, stating that GETTE had been in the business for many years, and had boasted of earning $100,000 a year. The business involved several distributors working for GETTE in Southwest Washington.

At sentencing, the federal prosecutor told District Judge Ronald B. Leighton that GETTE had also operated a store where he skimmed tax receipts and sold contraband cigarettes as well as illegal fireworks. The judge noted that GETTE made a lot of money, on which he paid no taxes, in his reckless disregard for the danger his business posed to innocent others. He ordered GETTE to forfeit to the federal government what remained of the proceeds of his black market enterprise.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, and the Portland Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys William H. Redkey, Jr., and Richard B. Cohen.

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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