Colorado News: Western Slope Man, James Russell Wich Sentenced For Making False Statement To Firearms Dealers

Defendant bought firearms for felons

DENVER, Co. – A Grand Junction man was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Marcia S. Krieger to serve 6 months in federal prison followed by 6 months on home detention for making false statements to a firearms dealer, U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn and ATF Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Debbie Livingston announced. James Russell Wich, age 32, was first indicted by a federal grand jury in Grand Junction on October 19, 2017.

He pled guilty to making a false statement to firearms dealers stating that the firearms were for his own possession when in fact he gave them to two known felons who are drug dealers. The guilty plea was before Chief Judge Krieger on May 31, 2018. He was sentenced on November 6, 2018 in Grand Junction. Wich is free on bond and has 45 days to turn himself in to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

According to the stipulated facts contained in Wich’s plea agreement, on January 26, 2017, law enforcement stopped a vehicle occupied by an individual who had four firearms and 4.68 kilograms of methamphetamine. Two of the four firearms were purchased by Wich ten days earlier.

Additional investigation found that Wich had purchased multiple firearms from four different sources. Further, the investigation revealed a suspected firearm and drug trafficking operation involving a California resident. California law enforcement executed an arrest warrant on the individual’s home on May 31, 2017. During that search eight firearms purchased by Wich were found.

This case was investigated by the ATF with assistance from local authorities. The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Hautzinger.

These enforcement actions and partnerships are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. Learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods.


SOURCE: news provided by JUSTICE.GOV on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.