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Press Release

Former Fugitive Pleads Guilty to Firearms Charge

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

A former fugitive from Arkansas who was arrested in Delaware County pleaded guilty to a federal firearms charge, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

Levi Owen Handle, 30, of Gravette, Arkansas, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to being a fugitive in possession of firearms. A Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun and a Ruger .22 caliber pistol were discovered in Handle’s vehicle during his arrest.

On June 14, 2019, an individual contacted authorities after hearing a gunshot the previous night and discovering Handle’s vehicle on private property in Jay. When a Delaware County Sheriff’s Office deputy questioned Handle, he initially refused to provide his name and attempted to flee on foot. He was eventually subdued and handcuffed. After the deputy ran a check on Handle, he was placed under arrest for multiple active warrants and for attempting to escape arrest for a felony. Handle faces charges in Arkansas for making terroristic threats, domestic battery, violating a no-contact order, and failure to appear. 

“Federal law prohibits nine categories of people from possessing firearms, including fugitives, felons, and convicted domestic abusers,” said U.S. Attorney Shores. “It is my experience as a career prosecutor that when prohibited persons possess guns, bad things can happen. That’s why cases like this one are important to prosecute. Levi Handle was a fugitive who was fleeing allegations of domestic abuse and terroristic threats in Arkansas. I commend the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor Régal for their diligence in pursuing this case and holding Levi Handle accountable.”

Federal law has long barred convicted felons and fugitives, as well as individuals subject to certain domestic violence protective orders or convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors, from possessing firearms. Research shows that abusers with a gun in the home are five times more likely to kill their partners than abusers who do not have that same access to a firearm.

Also prohibited are aliens unlawfully in the United States, those dishonorably discharged from military service, individuals with certain mental illness diagnoses, and those who are unlawful users of controlled substances. Individuals are also prohibited from purchasing firearms on behalf of anyone who fits within the above categories.

The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor A.S. Régal is prosecuting the case


Public Affairs

Updated August 20, 2019

Firearms Offenses