Criminal Justice News

Friday, September 02, 2016

Kalamazoo Man, Kevonte McNeely, Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Possessing a Firearm

McNeely had one of the 21 firearms stolen from Outpost Guns, in Sturgis, Michigan, on November 12, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Kevonte Derome McNeely, age 24, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was sentenced to five years in federal prison following his conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm as a felon, U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr., announced. In addition to the 60-month prison term, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Robert J. Jonker imposed a fine of $1,200 and a three-year term of supervised release, which will begin when McNeely is released from prison.

McNeely pled guilty on April 19, 2016, to knowingly possessing a firearm as a felon on November 16, 2015. The firearm McNeely had in his possession was an assault rifle, similar to an AK-47, which was stolen from Outpost Guns, in Sturgis, Michigan, on November 12, 2015. In total, 21 firearms were stolen that day from the store. A joint investigation involving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, and the Sturgis Police Department revealed that, within a few days of the theft, the stolen firearms were transported from Sturgis to Kalamazoo and sold to multiple buyers. Five of the 21 stolen firearms have been recovered by law enforcement. The investigation is ongoing with respect to other subjects involved in trafficking or possessing the stolen firearms.

Kevonte McNeely is the first to be sentenced of six defendants who have been charged federally, to date, in connection with the firearms stolen from Outpost Guns. Jorel Gefferard, of Sturgis, was indicted in a separate case that charges him with the theft of the firearms, unlawful possession of one or more firearms as a felon, and possessing, concealing, and storing the stolen firearms following the Outpost Guns theft. Kevonte McNeely’s brother, Keondre McNeely, also of Kalamazoo, was indicted in the same case as Gefferard, along with a third individual, Roscoe Manns, of Sturgis, for receiving, possessing, concealing, and storing the stolen firearms following the theft. Keondre McNeely is considered a fugitive and remains at large; the District Court issued a warrant for his arrest. Two other Kalamazoo men, Ronald Eugene Dafney, and Kenneth Parnell Williams, were indicted in separate cases for unlawfully possessing as felons one or more of the firearms that were among the 21 stolen from Outpost Guns. All of these other cases remain pending. The charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

“This case demonstrates how quickly a significant number of firearms can be stolen, moved, and sold, often landing in the hands of people who cannot legally purchase firearms because of prior felony convictions, thereby placing members of our communities at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles. The U.S. Attorney’s Office works closely with the ATF to investigate, identify, and prosecute individuals involved in trafficking stolen firearms.

“Thefts from Federal Firearm Licensees will always be one of our highest priorities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Robin Shoemaker. “Firearms in the hands of those who should not have them presents a public safety issue, and threatens the safety of our communities. ATF will continue to work with our partners to aggressively follow the gun to recover those firearms and put those individuals behind bars.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Zell prosecuted the case.

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