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Press Release

An Armed Career Criminal Sentenced to 17 1/2 years in Federal Prison for Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, and Escape

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

BISMARCK – United States Attorney Drew H. Wrigley announced that on July 11, 2019, Chief United States District Judge Daniel L. Hovland sentenced Lonnie Alonzo Howard, age 48, of Bismarck, North Dakota, on charges of Possession of Firearm and Ammunition by a convicted felon, and Escape.  Judge Hovland sentenced Howard to serve 17 1/2 years imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. On April 11, 2019, a federal jury found Howard guilty on both counts. 

The case arose from an investigation in Mandan, North Dakota, that led the police to execute a search warrant in 2015 at a residence in Bismarck, where Howard was staying.  In Howard’s bedroom, police found a 9mm handgun and loaded magazine in a toy basket. They also located two rounds of 9mm ammunition in a drawer in the bedroom, and 150 rounds of 9mm and 20-gauge ammunition in a backpack in the bedroom. 

While Howard was awaiting trial, he absconded from a halfway house placement.  He was a fugitive for approximately 11 months and on April 14, 2018, was stopped on I-94 near the Bismarck State Street exit.  Howard struggled with the officer and damaged a Good Samaritan’s vehicle as he fled the scene.  He escaped, but was apprehended in Bismarck 9 days later.  For that incident, Howard was convicted in Burleigh County District Court of reckless endangerment, simple assault on a peace officer, and false information to law enforcement.

“The 17 years this defendant will spend in federal prison creates one of our favorite statistics in law enforcement: the crimes that will not occur up ahead as a result of the defendant being removed from the streets.  Armed robbery, serious drug trafficking, unlawful possession of firearms by a felon, escape and resisting officers attempting to apprehend him, serious criminal history and conduct by Mr. Howard,” said United States Attorney Drew H. Wrigley.  “He earned his lengthy federal prison sentence, and the interests of public safety and justice have been upheld in this case.”

Judge Hovland designated Howard an Armed Career Criminal under Federal law, due to prior felony convictions for armed robbery in Wisconsin and two serious drug offenses in Burleigh County, North Dakota.          

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; North Dakota Parole and Probation; Mandan Police Department; Bismarck Police Department; Metro Area Narcotics Task Force; and Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department

This Case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney’s David D. Hagler and Jonathan J. O’Konek


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Terry W. Van Horn (701) 297-7458

Updated July 12, 2019