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Press Release

Belton Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearm Following Police Chase

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

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Belton, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally possessing a firearm after leading police officers on a vehicle pursuit that ended when he drove through residential yards and disabled his vehicle after striking several trees.

Gregory P. Middaugh, 38, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Belton police officers responded to a call of a burglary in progress on Feb. 10, 2017. Middaugh was kicking at the front door of his estranged girlfriend’s residence, attempting to make entry into the residence. Middaugh fled from the scene in a black Mercedes Benz C280.

Belton police officers attempted to stop Middaugh as he fled from the residence. Middaugh refused to stop and fled from the officers at a high rate of speed. While fleeing, Middaugh hit several parked vehicles. He then left the roadway and continued to drive through yards, where he struck several trees. Middaugh’s vehicle was eventually disabled, and he was taken into custody.

Officers searched the vehicle after Middaugh’s arrest and found a loaded Smith and Wesson .45-caliber pistol with a laser sight attachment lying on the passenger floorboard of the vehicle. The firearm was reportedly stolen.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Middaugh has two prior felony convictions for burglary, two prior felony convictions for stealing, and prior felony convictions for domestic violence, robbery, armed criminal action and assault on a state Department of Corrections employee.

Under federal statutes, Middaugh is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. If the court determines that Middaugh is an armed career criminal, he would be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Moeder. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Belton, Mo., Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Project Safe Neighborhoods
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, and local law enforcement to specifically identify criminals responsible for significant violent crime in the Western District of Missouri. A centerpiece of this effort is Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods is an evidence-based program that identifies the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develops comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, Project Safe Neighborhoods focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Updated March 25, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods