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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Washington Man Sentenced to 92 Months in Federal Prison for Possession of a Stolen Silencer

Spokane Man Sentenced in Federal Court

Spokane – William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Joseph W. Aarnes, age 38, of Spokane, Washington, was sentenced today after having pleaded guilty on July 16, 2019, to possession of a stolen firearm. United States District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. sentenced Aarnes to a 92-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 3-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, on June 6, 2018, Aarnes was arrested by the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC). Two days later, a third party notified DOC that there was a firearm “silencer,” also known as a suppressor, among Aarnes’ personal belongings at a residence. After obtaining consent to search the residence, officers seized a Gemtech, model Outback 2d, silencer. Investigators determined the silencer had been reported stolen. Under federal law, a “silencer” is considered a firearm.

William D. Hyslop said, “Possession of a stolen ‘silencer’ presents unnecessary risks to the community. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington will continue to prosecute aggressively those individuals who illegally possess firearms and ammunition. I commend the outstanding work of the FBI, ATF, Washington State Department of Corrections, and the Spokane Police Department in investigating this case.”

This case was prosecuted under the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program. PSN is a federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to specifically identify the criminals responsible for violent crime in the Eastern District of Washington and pursue criminal prosecution.

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. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from the following Project Guardian partners: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Spokane Regional Safe Streets Task Force, the Spokane Regional Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Washington State Department of Corrections, and the Spokane Police Department. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/ag/project-guardian-memo-2019/download.

This case was prosecuted by Patrick J. Cashman, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.  

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 
2:19-CR-00038-SMJ
Updated January 29, 2020