OKLAHOMA CITY – Christopher Steven Ledbetter, 29, of McLoud, Oklahoma, has been sentenced to serve 57 months in federal prison for unlawful possession of a fully automatic machinegun, announced U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing.
According to court records and proceedings, in March 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) learned that Ledbetter might be in possession of a fully automatic machinegun. FBI then reviewed publicly available materials on the internet associated with Ledbetter that depicted Ledbetter on multiple occasions shooting what appeared to be a fully automatic machinegun and threatening law enforcement. On June 4, 2020, FBI encountered Ledbetter in Oklahoma City. In his vehicle, FBI discovered a fully automatic AK-47 style carbine machinegun. FBI also executed a search warrant at Ledbetter’s residence in McLoud. FBI located two homemade grenades, two homemade Molotov Cocktails, and stolen firearms. Ledbetter was arrested without incident and charged with unlawfully possessing a fully automatic machinegun. Ledbetter was interviewed by FBI and fully confessed to his conduct.
Federal law prohibits the possession of a fully automatic machinegun as defined in the National Firearms Act, except under limited circumstances. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) searched its federal licensing system and determined that Ledbetter did not have the required licenses to possess a machinegun.
On June 26, 2020, Ledbetter pleaded guilty to possessing the automatic machinegun in violation of federal law.
On December 17, 2020, U.S. District Judge Charles B. Goodwin sentenced Ledbetter to 57 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. In imposing the sentence, Judge Goodwin noted the nature and circumstances of Ledbetter’s conduct leading to his arrest, including reckless endangerment and the attempted evasion of McLoud police.
"The successful prosecution of this case demonstrates that those who put our communities at risk, especially through the unlawful possession of firearms, will be held accountable," said U.S. Attorney Downing. "It also emphasizes the strength of law enforcement collaboration. We are grateful to all those agencies who were invested in bringing Ledbetter to justice."
"The success of this case is a direct result of law enforcement agencies working together in the state of Oklahoma to target threats to the safety and well-being of our citizens," said Melissa Godbold, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Oklahoma City Division. "The people of Oklahoma deserve this collective effort, and I want to thank our law enforcement partners for helping to keep our communities safe."
This case is a result of an investigation by the FBI Oklahoma City Division, the ATF Dallas Field Division, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Oklahoma City Police Department, the McLoud Police Department and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matt Dillon and Jessica Perry prosecuted the case.