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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Fairbanks Man Sentenced on Gun and Drug Charges

Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced Ralph Norman Wells, 39, of Fairbanks, has been sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline for Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Possession of Controlled Substance with the Intent to Distribute.

According to Court documents, on April 2, 2020, a business owner reported a suspicious vehicle loitering in the parking lot. Alaska State Troopers (AST) responded and identified Wells, who was on state felony probation. Officers contacted Well’s probation officer, who requested a search of Wells’ vehicle and person.  The search revealed a loaded Ruger P345-45 caliber which had the serial number partially obliterated in a shoulder holster on Well’s person. Additionally, the search also resulted in the seizure of approximately 5 grams of methamphetamine, a digital scale, baggies and drug paraphernalia. Wells has prior felony convictions and a lengthy criminal history. Wells pleaded guilty in October 2020.       

Wells was sentenced to 120 months in prison, followed by 6 years of supervised release. In imposing the sentence, Judge Beistline emphasized Wells’ extensive criminal history, the seriousness of the offense and the need to protect the public. 

The Alaska State Troopers (AST), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of this case.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Doty.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please visit https://www.justice.gov/ag/about-project-guardian

Topic(s): 
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
21-014
Updated February 10, 2021