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Press Release

Las Vegas Man Sentenced For Possessing Machine Gun

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

BOISE – Phillip Bernardino Chavez, 30, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced today in United States District Court to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for illegally possessing a machine gun, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Chavez appeared before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.

According to the plea agreement, in December 2012, Chavez’s co-defendant, Ronald Alexander, offered to sell a rifle to a Nampa Police detective working undercover. After discussing the terms of a transaction, Alexander told the undercover officer that an automatic rifle would cost $3,200. Arrangements were made for the undercover officer to purchase the firearm during a controlled operation. On December 18, 2012, the undercover officer met with Alexander and Chavez. Chavez presented the undercover officer with a Pioneer Arms Corporation 7.62x25 rifle and a bag containing three magazines, in exchange for $3,200. At the conclusion of the transaction, law enforcement agents arrested Alexander and Chavez. Chavez pleaded guilty to the charge on July 3, 2013, admitting that he knew the firearm was a fully automatic machine gun.

Co-defendant Ronald Keith Alexander, 38, of Boise, was sentenced last month to 46 months in prison. Alexander was also prohibited from possessing firearms due to a 2001 felony conviction for robbery in Walla Walla County, Washington.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Nampa Police Department, and Boise Police Department.

The defendants were prosecuted by the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney hired by the Treasure Valley Partnership and the State of Idaho to address gang crimes. The Treasure Valley Partnership is comprised of a group of elected officials in southwest Idaho dedicated to regional coordination, cooperation, and collaboration on creating coherent regional growth. For more information, visit

Updated December 15, 2014