DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Washington

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Joseph H. Harrington
, United States Attorney
Contact: George J.C. Jacobs III

East Wenatchee Man Sentenced to More Than Five Years in Federal Prison for Unlawful Possession of Firearms and Explosives

Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Michael Richard Ayers, age 53, of East Wenatchee, Washington, was sentenced today after having pleaded guilty on March 10, 2018, to Felon in Possession of a Firearms and Explosives and Possession of Unregistered Firearms. United States District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr., sentenced Ayers to a 66-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 3-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, police obtained a search warrant for the motorhome where Ayers was living based on reports that Ayers, a convicted felon, was obtaining firearms and firearm parts through straw purchases made by his then girlfriend. Ayers had also uttered threats to kill an East Wenatchee police officer. During the search, officers found two short-barreled rifles, a rifle receiver, a rifle-mounted flare launcher, five improvised grenades loaded with black powder and BBs that were designed to be fired from the flare launcher, as well as steel inserts used to convert the flare launcher into a short-barreled shotgun, body armor, ammunition, and large capacity magazines.

Joseph H. Harrington said, “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington commends the investigative efforts of the law enforcement officers with the Wenatchee Police Department, the ATF and the United States Army 53rd Ordnance Company Explosive Ordnance Disposal. Their seamless partnership resulted in the successful outcome of this matter. The sentence imposed by the court sends a clear message to others who may choose to engage in such criminal activity.”

ATF Special Agent Robert Almgren, the Resident Agent in Charge of the Yakima Field Office, stated, “Through the extraordinary efforts and expertise of agents, investigators, and prosecutors with the Wenatchee Police Department, the ATF Yakima Field Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office this hefty sentence illustrates that felons who are in possession of firearms will be pursued tirelessly and prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law allows.”

This case was prosecuted under the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program. PSN is a federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to specifically identify the criminals responsible for violent crime in the Eastern District of Washington and pursue criminal prosecution.

This case was investigated by the Yakima Resident Office of the ATF, and the Wenatchee Police Department with assistance from the United States Army 53rd Ordnance Company Explosive Ordnance Disposal. This case was prosecuted by Timothy J. Ohms, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.
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