For Immediate Release
Grand Rapids Man Sentenced to 188 Months in Federal Prison for Firearm Offense
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Ralph Lamont Blevins, 39, of Grand Rapids, Michigan was sentenced to 188 months (15 years, 8 months) in federal prison for illegally possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon, U.S. Attorney Andrew B. Birge announced today.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney imposed a 4-year term of supervised release that will commence once Blevins is released from imprisonment.
Blevins pled guilty on October 31, 2017, to one count of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. Blevins came to the attention of law enforcement in the Summer of 2017, when he had sold crack cocaine to a police informant. Police quickly moved in and executed a search warrant at Blevins’ home. They found numerous firearms, ammunition, drug paraphernalia, cash, and marijuana. Blevins had previously been convicted of more than a half dozen felonies, including violent crimes, drug offenses, and weapons offenses. He qualified for enhanced penalties under the Armed Career Criminal Act because of his extensive criminal history.
In its sentencing memorandum, the U.S. Attorney’s Office underscored Blevins’ long criminal history and emphasized the need to protect the public. “The defendant is a 39-year old with adult convictions for drugs, violence, and illegal possession of a firearm. Unfortunately, his prior convictions and periods of incarceration have not deterred him from further criminality.”
His decision to maintain “a heavily guarded drug operation in the middle of Grand Rapids posed a significant risk to the community. The toxic mix of drugs and firearms could have easily led to the loss of life by officers, innocent bystanders, or even the defendant himself.”
U.S. Attorney Birge stated: “My office and our law enforcement partners will aggressively prosecute repeat offenders, and the penalties for engaging in narcotics trafficking while armed with firearms will be appropriately severe.”
The charges in this case are the result of a joint investigation by the Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (KANET), the Grand Rapids Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean M. Lewis prosecuted the case. The U.S. Attorney's Office and federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to combat violent crime in the Grand Rapids area.