For Immediate Release
Merrill Felon Sentenced for Methamphetamine Charge and Illegal Gun Possession
MADISON, WIS. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Ryan Kleinschmidt, 25, Merrill, Wisconsin, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge William Conley to 54 months in federal prison for possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Kleinschmidt pleaded guilty to these charges on April 11, 2019.
On September 18, 2018, Kleinschmidt was stopped by law enforcement for a traffic violation and was subsequently arrested on an outstanding state matter. A search of his vehicle resulted in the discovery of hidden compartments behind the dashboard where 26 grams of methamphetamine and a loaded Ruger .22 caliber pistol were found.
Judge Conley commented that possessing the handgun while selling drugs was disturbing conduct that created a risk for everyone involved, including law enforcement and others, and the fact that those items were concealed in a hidden compartment demonstrated an increased sophistication.
This case has been brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the U.S. Justice Department’s program to reduce violent crime. The PSN approach involves collaboration by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.
The charge against Kleinschmidt was the result of an investigation conducted by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Merrill Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Stephan.