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Press Release

Columbia Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Illegal Firearms, Meth Trafficking

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

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Columbia, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing firearms and methamphetamine.

Matthew Alan Eads, 38, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Eads was sentenced as an armed career criminal due to his prior felony convictions.

On Jan. 7, 2020, Eads pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, and to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

According to court documents, Eads was driving a 1997 Lincoln on March 39, 2018, when he ran a red light at the intersection of Paris Road and Brown Station Road in Columbia, causing a collision with a pick-up truck. Officers were called to the scene of the crash. An officer smelled marijuana while retrieving Eads’s proof of insurance from his vehicle, and Eads admitted he had a small amount of marijuana.

Officers searched Eads’s vehicle and found a gray backpack on the rear passenger seat that contained a Bersa .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun and a prescription bottle that contained methamphetamine. In the Lincoln’s trunk officers found a drawstring athletic bag that contained a Phoenix Arms .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun and two plastic baggies that contained approximately 12 grams of methamphetamine. Also inside this bag was a marijuana pipe, suspected THC wax, and two loaded magazines for the Bersa handgun.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has a prior felony conviction to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Eads has prior felony convictions for assault (injuring his victim with a utility knife), possessing cocaine with the intent to deliver, stealing, drug trafficking, and distributing psilocin (mushrooms – a controlled substance).

This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron M. Jolly. It was investigated by the Columbia, 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 July 30, 2020

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking