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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Texas

For Immediate Release

Monday, May 20, 2019
Ryan K. Patrick
, United States Attorney

Federal Judge Grants Upward Variance and Gives Gang Member with Multiple Priors Significant Prison Sentence

HOUSTON – A 38-year old Houston resident and documented 59 Bounty Hunters criminal street gang member has been ordered to federal prison for multiple convictions, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Michael Wayne Ben pleaded guilty March 11, 2019, admitting he was in possession of several firearms and rounds of ammunition. With 18 prior convictions, he is not permitted to possess such per federal law.

Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt took into consideration Ben’s multiple convictions, granted an upward variance to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and ordered him to serve 115 months in federal prison. The sentence will be immediately followed by three years of supervised release.

At the hearing, the court heard that Ben was convicted of felonies twice in 1997, again in 1998, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2008, twice in 2012 and again in 2017, among other offenses.

The convictions included multiple felonies, such as possession of a controlled substance, burglary of a building, unlawful carrying of a weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, unauthorized use of a vehicle, manufacturing or delivery of a controlled substance and assault of a family member.

The government contended a variance in the sentencing range was necessary to ensure the safety of the community.

Judge Hoyt heard that Ben once attempted to ingest 10.22 grams of crack cocaine so police would not seize it. He also stole a truck and rammed it into a grocery store to burglarize it. 

More so, the court heard about one of Ben’s prior cases in which he once strangled and beat up a women who had a newborn baby in her arms, solely because she had discovered another woman’s keys in Ben’s pockets. During the encounter, Ben had thrown the baby on the floor. In a separate incident, he kicked yet another woman in the stomach after she did not get an abortion as he had instructed.

On Oct. 22, 2018, authorities observed a 1993 Lincoln Sedan at the intersection of Deering and Woodfair in Houston, at which time they learned of an open traffic warrant for the operator of the vehicle – Ben. He stopped the car, but then fled on foot.

A law enforcement officer chased him through a nearby apartment complex and a parking lot. Ben has also jumped over the hood of a car and a small privacy fence as he continued into another apartment complex. He was ultimately taken into custody apprehended a few days later.

In his vehicle, authorities found a stolen Glock 19 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol with a 30-round high-capacity magazine containing 20 rounds of ammunition. Also discovered was an Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 semi-automatic assault rife with a double drum high-capacity magazine which is capable of holding more than 100 rounds of ammunition. It had 16 rounds of .222 ammunition, one of which was a military grade tracer round. 

Ben will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The Houston Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Laurence Goldman prosecuted the case.   

Houston Field Division