DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Nebraska

For Immediate Release

Thursday, January 11, 2024
Susan T. Lehr
, United States Attorney

Omaha Man Sentenced for Firearms Conspiracy and Illegal Possession of a Machine Gun

OMAHA, Neb. — Acting U.S. Attorney Susan Lehr announced that Majok Bethow, 24, of Omaha, was sentenced for illegal possession of a machine gun and participation in a firearms conspiracy in the furtherance of drug trafficking. Chief U.S. District Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. sentenced Bethow to 24 months’ imprisonment on each charge to run concurrently. There is no parole in the federal system. After Bethow’s release from prison, he will begin a concurrent 3-year term of supervised release.

On March 26, 2022, Omaha Police Department officers initiated a traffic stop southeast of South 32nd and Q Streets after they observed a vehicle without license plates. After pulling over the vehicle, the rear driver's side passenger door opened and an occupant fled on foot. Officers gave chase and the party, later identified as Bethow, was taken into custody. A search of his person located a Glock 19X, 9 mm handgun loaded with a 24-round extended magazine containing 18 live rounds. The firearm slide had a black metal auto sear installed on the back of it, a “Glock switch,” that allowed it to function as a machinegun.

Bethow was also charged in a firearms conspiracy after law enforcement learned that codefendant Rodolfo Falcon owned a drug stash house that was the central location for the distribution of narcotics. Falcon rented the house out to younger drug dealers who were also documented gang members: codefendants Kenneth Blair, Alexis Bernal-Lopez, Majok Bethow and Keland Strong each rented the residence from Falcon for some portion of the conspiracy.

The Safe Streets Task Force of the Greater Omaha area conducted a search of the residence and recovered cocaine, marijuana, currency, drug paraphernalia and three firearms. Falcon was observed posing with one such firearm in photos of himself that were recovered during the search. Flacon is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.

At the time of the search, Kenneth Blair was in the basement of the residence, where text messages amongst the group confirmed was the portion of the house that Blair regularly occupied. Two apparent narcotics customers were located with Blair in the basement at the time of the search. Drugs and cash were also recovered from the basement. Keland Strong used an upstairs room that contained numerous firearms. Falcon was found on the main level of the home where cash and cocaine were recovered along with identification documents.

Evidence of significant marijuana distributions, such as wrappers for large quantities of marijuana were also recovered. This, along with text messages between the group, revealed that the home was being used as a narcotics distribution hub and that Bethow, Bernal-Lopez, Strong, and Blair all worked together to sell drugs.

Kenneth Blair pled guilty to firearms conspiracy and was sentenced on Dec. 21, 2023, to 21 months' imprisonment.

Codefendants Rodolfo Falcon, Keland Strong and Bernal-Lopez have all pled guilty to the firearms conspiracy. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 19, Feb. 8 and Feb. 16 respectively.

This case is 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Omaha Police Department.

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Kansas City Field Division