GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten announced that Ricky Jaimal Meeks, 41, of Lansing, Michigan, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for illegally possessing a firearm that was used in a Muskegon-area homicide. U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney also ordered Meeks to spend 3 years on supervised release after his confinement.
“Armed domestic abusers are far more likely to inflict serious bodily harm on partners, and potentially create dangerous situations for innocent bystanders and responding law enforcement officers,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “The serious sentence imposed here shows that violent and illegally armed criminals will face serious consequences in federal court.”
Meeks was previously convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm at a jury trial in May 2023. At trial, evidence showed Meeks possessed the firearm on September 11, 2022, in connection with a domestic assault that occurred at a residence in Lansing. When police responded to the scene, Meeks fled in a vehicle, leading officers in a high-speed pursuit until he lost control, crashed into a residence, and attempted to flee on foot before he was apprehended. Judge Maloney increased Meeks’ sentence because Meeks obstructed justice when he fled from police.
At sentencing, the United States presented additional incriminating evidence about the firearm Meeks illegally possessed. Investigators compared ballistics evidence from the firearm that Meeks possessed in Lansing to shell casings located at the scene of the October 5, 2021, homicide of Earnest Hardy, which occurred in the City of Muskegon. Mr. Hardy was pronounced dead at the scene after being shot 10 times. Further analysis and ballistics testing confirmed the shell casings recovered at the homicide scene were fired from the firearm Meeks illegally possessed as a previously convicted felon.
"The FBI is relentless in our pursuit of ensuring safety for families and communities from gun violence," said Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. "We are thankful to our large network of law enforcement partners for their support in combatting violent crimes. The FBI continues to request the public's assistance by calling 1-800-CALLFBI (1-800-225-5324) or submitting tips online to http://tips.fbi.gov if anyone believes they may have information that could help save a life from gun violence."
“Ricky Meeks chose to illegally possess an illegal crime gun to commit domestic abuse. Everyone deserves to live in peace without the threat of gun and or domestic violence,” said Detroit Special Agent in Charge James Deir. “Meeks will have significant time to reflect about his poor life choices in federal prison. The message should be clear to everyone: If you choose to carry an illegal firearm, you need to pack your bags for prison.”
Holding illegal firearm possessors accountable through federal prosecution is a centerpiece of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction strategy. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Federal Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Lansing Police Department (LPD), and the City of Muskegon Police Department (MPD). Assistant United States Attorneys Erin K. Lane and Lauren F. Biksacky prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.
ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) played a pivotal role in the evaluation of the firearm and shell casing evidence. NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles. For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-network-nibin.