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Press Release

Milwaukee Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Possessing a Loaded Firearm While Trafficking Drugs and Fleeing from Police

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

United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that on August 6, 2020, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman sentenced Ronald J. Payne (age: 34) to six years’ imprisonment and two years’ supervised release after Payne pled guilty to Possessing a Firearm during and in relation to Drug Trafficking, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c).

According to court records, on June 5, 2019, Milwaukee police officers attempted to pull Payne over for a traffic offense but Payne took off in his truck, leading officers on a high-speed chase through a residential area until he stopped and fled on foot while carrying a loaded .38-caliber handgun. Officers pursued and ordered him to drop the gun. Payne tossed the gun as he fell to the ground, and officers quickly arrested him and secured the gun. On his person and in his truck, Payne possessed cash and distribution-sized quantities of marijuana. Payne was a two-time convicted felon and admitted that he was a drug dealer and not a drug user. Investigation revealed that Payne also possessed two 9-mm pistols at his home and dozens of rounds of ammunition. Payne had been previously convicted of robbery and drug dealing and served time in state prison.

This case was prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods’ strategy brings together all levels of law enforcement and community resources to reduce violent crime and improve the quality of life in all our neighborhoods.

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 see

This case was investigated by the Milwaukee Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Tim Funnell prosecuted the case.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at                                                                    

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Updated August 7, 2020