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Justice News

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

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

San Luis Valley Man Sentenced To Nine Years In Federal Prison For Being A Felon In Possession Of A Firearm

DENVER – Lawrence Rolland Thiel, of San Luis, Colorado, was sentenced this month by U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez to serve 110 months (just over 9 years) in federal prison for possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, United States Attorney John Walsh and ATF Denver Special Agent in Charge Andrew Traver announced.  After serving his sentence, Judge Martinez ordered Thiel to spend 3 years on supervised release.  Thiel, who appeared at the hearing in custody, was remanded.

Thiel was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 1, 2012.  He pled guilty before Judge Martinez on February 11, 2013.  He was sentenced on June 4, 2013.

According to court records, beginning on August 11, 2012, Thiel drove past a home at a high rate of speed and fired a small black pistol in the direction of the house.  The house belonged to a man who was involved in a foreclosure proceeding against Thiel’s home.  While police were still investigating the initial crime, Thiel was identified as running a woman and her three children off the road while they were driving.  He also pointed a small black pistol at them.

Having obtained an arrest warrant for Thiel, on August 20, 2012, a police officer observed Thiel driving the same truck involved with the two earlier crimes.  Police pulled over Thiel’s vehicle.  Thiel was driving, and his ex-wife, who he lived with sporadically, occupied the passenger seat.  Thiel was placed under arrest.  After being taken to Costilla County Jail, Thiel consented to a lawful search of his vehicle.  During the search, officers discovered a Ruger P95DC 9mm pistol.  A subsequent search of Thiel's home, pursuant to a search warrant, uncovered a Savage Arms Model 24C Series P, over/under shotgun/rifle.  The serial number of this weapon had been obliterated.

Prior to the execution of the search warrant, Thiel’s ex-wife initially made claims that the firearms were hers.  However, after the searches turned up the second firearm and pictures of Thiel shooting and posing with the pistol dating back to April of 2012, Thiel’s ex-wife admitted that Thiel had asked her to purchase them for him, and that they were his.

Thiel has a criminal history dating back to 1981. Among convictions for other minor crimes, Thiel has at least ten felony convictions from jurisdictions across Colorado and California. This is Thiel’s first conviction for a federal crime. 

This case was investigated by the ATF and the San Luis Police Department.

Thiel was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt Bohn.


Updated June 22, 2015