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Press Release

Colville Tribal Member Sentenced to 71 Months for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington

Spokane, Washington – U.S. District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr., sentenced James H. Gallaher, 63, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, to 71 months in federal prison for Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Gallaher pleaded guilty to an indictment on October 12, 2021.

According to court documents, on June 28, 2021, a security officer at the Chief Joseph Dam saw Gallaher carry what appeared to be a pistol and AR style rifle from his camper to a white Honda sedan. The security officer, who knew Gallaher was not permitted to possess firearms, obtained surveillance video of Gallaher carrying the firearms and reported the offense to the Colville Tribal Police. The next morning, officers with the Colville Tribal Police traveled to Chief Joseph Dam, where they saw two firearms through the window of the white Honda. Gallaher’s camper was parked next to the Honda. Tribal Police approached the camper and arrested Gallaher without incident.

After Gallaher’s arrest, Tribal Police and ATF agents executed a search warrant for the Honda sedan and Gallaher’s camper. Officers recovered four firearms – two inside the Honda and two inside the camper, along with more than 100 rounds of ammunition. At the time, Gallaher had sustained four prior federal convictions, including Manslaughter, Abusive Sexual Contact, Theft of Government Property, and Felon in Possession of Ammunition.

In announcing the 71-month sentence, Judge Mendoza emphasized Gallaher’s violent history, which had “spanned four decades.” Judge Mendoza also rejected Gallaher’s explanation that he obtained the firearms for sentimental reasons, noting that Gallaher knew he was not permitted to have firearms because of his similar prior conviction for being a Felon in Possession of Ammunition. The 71-month sentence reflected an upward variance from Gallaher’s advisory sentencing guideline range of 33-41 months of incarceration.

United States Attorney Vanessa Waldref lauded the significant sentence and commended the joint efforts of law enforcement. She also emphasized the need to keep Eastern Washington safe and strong. “It is alarming that Mr. Gallaher, notwithstanding his lengthy criminal history, brazenly carried multiple firearms in such a public area. Because of the cooperative efforts of federal, Tribal, and local officers, an individual with prior convictions for homicide and sexual abuse – who was able to obtain multiple firearms after numerous felony convictions – is again off the streets.”

“As a multi-convicted federal felon, Mr. Gallaher’s actions were clearly in blatant disregard for both the law and the safety of the community,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson. “This sentence will hopefully send a clear message to Mr. Gallaher and anyone who attempts to possess firearms as a felon that we will do everything we can to stop this illegal conduct.”

Colville Tribal Police, ATF, and security personnel for Chief Joseph Dam investigated this case, which were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Richard Barker and Patrick J. Cashman.

Updated February 16, 2022

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 2:21CR00088-SMJ-1