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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Oklahoma
Robert J. Troester, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, November 4, 2022

Former Watonga Police Chief Pleads Guilty to Illegal Receipt of a Firearm While Under Indictment

OKLAHOMA CITY – Earlier this week, WILLIAM SHAWN KAYS, 39, of Mustang, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty to one felony count of illegal receipt of a firearm by a person under indictment, announced U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester. Federal law prohibits those under felony indictment from receiving firearms and ammunition.

On June 8, 2022, a federal grand jury returned a three-count Second Superseding Indictment against Kays. Count 1 charged him with illegal receipt of a firearm and alleged that on or about August 15, 2021, Kays received a Glock .45 caliber pistol while under indictment for the felony offense of Burglary in the First Degree, charged in Blaine County District Court case number CF-2021-52. Counts 2 and 3 charged him with being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

On November 1, 2022, at a plea hearing before Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti, Kays pled guilty to Count 1. Kays admitted that he willfully received a firearm on August 15, 2021 and received the firearm knowing that he was under a pending indictment for a felony offense. The government agreed to dismiss Counts 2 and 3 at sentencing.

At sentencing, Kays faces up to 5 years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release. A sentencing hearing will take place in approximately 90 days.

This case is a result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Oklahoma City Field Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary E. Walters and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Powers.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods and Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiatives to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. The local implementation of these initiatives in the Western District of Oklahoma is through "Operation 922" which prioritizes prosecution of federal gun crimes connected to domestic violence.

Reference is made to court filings for further information.

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