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News and Press Releases

FORMER ARMY RANGER BANK ROBBER SENTENCED TO AN ADDITIONAL 20 YEARS IN PRISON FOR ASSAULT AND TRYING TO HIRE A HIT MAN
Dual Canadian and US Citizen Now Sentenced to 44 years in Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2010

LUKE ELLIOTT SOMMER, 23, formerly of Peachland, British Columbia, Canada, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to an additional 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine for Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Solicitation of a Crime of Violence. SOMMER’s total sentence in now 44 years in prison. SOMMER asked U.S. District Judge James L. Robart to recommend treaty transfer, so that SOMMER could serve his time in Canada. However Judge Robart noted that he plays no role in determining whether a defendant is eligible for treaty transfer.

According to the plea agreement, on two occasions in March 2009, SOMMER offered an undercover FBI task force officer as much as $20,000 for murdering an Assistant United States Attorney. Law enforcement was alerted to SOMMER’s interest in hiring a hit man in January 2009, barely a month after SOMMER was sentenced. SOMMER moved forward with the plot in March 2009, when he tried to hire the undercover officer telling him he wanted news reports of the hit to reflect that it was “murder not an accident.”

Additionally, on January 23, 2009, SOMMER used a prison-made knife to attack a co-defendant in the bank robbery case. The two men were to be housed separately at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, but SOMMER schemed to get to the other man’s prison unit with the weapon. SOMMER attacked the other inmate, fighting until the two were pulled apart by staff. SOMMER continued to yell and threaten the safety of the victim. Although the victim suffered a minor stab wound and multiple abrasions, neither man had to be hospitalized.

“There is no doubt that the defendant is a very dangerous man and needs to be locked up to protect society,” said Assistant United States Attorney Gregory A. Gruber. “This was an assault not just on the individual victims, but on the heart of the criminal justice system.”

LUKE SOMMER was sentenced to 24 years in prison on December 12, 2008, for Conspiracy to Commit Armed Bank Robbery, Armed Bank Robbery, Brandishing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence, and Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device – Hand Grenade. SOMMER was the mastermind of the August 7, 2006, robbery of a Tacoma branch of Bank of America. Five men, including SOMMER, participated in the robbery. Two were armed with fully automatic AK-47 machine guns. SOMMER and another man carried loaded semi-automatic hand guns. The men wore soft body armor to protect themselves in case of a shoot-out with police and carried hundreds of rounds of extra ammunition. SOMMER told the others that he wanted to use the proceeds of the robbery to start a crime family to rival the Hell’s Angels in British Columbia, Canada. The men escaped with more than $50,000, but were quickly tracked down and arrested thanks to an alert citizen who noted the license plate of the getaway car.

The FBI investigated the current charges. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregory A. Gruber.

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

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