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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Grain Valley Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Illegal Firearm

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Grain Valley, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing a firearm.

Matthew Scott Burr, 52, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to 10 years in federal prison without parole.

On Oct. 21, 2019, Burr pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug-trafficking crimes (the distribution of marijuana and cocaine).

Columbia, Missouri, police officers located Burr, who had active warrants for his arrest, at a Columbia apartment on Oct. 13, 2016. Two women at the apartment told officers that Burr was not living there, but had been staying there for the past week. One of the women told officers that Burr abused cocaine and talked about drug deals for thousands of dollars. She recalled Burr sitting at the kitchen table with another person with “lines of cocaine.”

After Burr was taken into custody, officers searched his duffel bag and found a loaded Hi-Point .45-caliber handgun and a dismantled cell phone with two SIM cards. The cell phone contained a series of text messages related to Burr’s distribution of cocaine and marijuana to at least three individuals in Boone County, Missouri.

According to court documents, Burr has a significant criminal history. On Oct. 27, 1986 (at age 18), he was convicted of felonies for selling marijuana and secobarbital. He had a felony conviction for driving while intoxicated at age 29, a felony conviction for unlawful use of a weapon (a golf club) at age 38, and another felony conviction for driving while intoxicated at age 41. He had a misdemeanor assault conviction at age 45, and received concurrent sentences for felony second degree burglary, felony stealing and felony possession of methamphetamine at age 46. 

Burr also has a significant substance abuse history, according to court documents. He admitted that he began drinking and using marijuana as a teenager, and used or attempted to use methamphetamine from age 46 to the day of his arrest. He has also been a heavy user of cocaine.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller. 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.

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Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated February 20, 2020