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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Wisconsin
Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 25, 2024

La Crosse Man Sentenced to 7 Years for Drug Trafficking and Illegally Possessing a Firearm

MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Benjamin W. Thoreson, 43, La Crosse, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 7 years in federal prison for possessing a firearm as a felon and possessing methamphetamine for distribution. Thoreson pleaded guilty to these charges on February 1, 2024. He was also ordered to serve a three-year term of supervised release.

On August 2, 2023, Thoreson was arrested for violating the conditions of his state supervision and admitted to having a handgun in his waistband. The arresting officer recovered a loaded Ruger LCP .22 caliber handgun and 14 grams of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in the backpack that Thoreson was carrying. Thoreson is prohibited from legally possessing a firearm because of prior felony convictions.

At sentencing Judge Peterson recognized that Thoreson struggled with addiction. Judge Peterson determined, however, that Thoreson’s chances of relapsing and returning to criminality was high, which made him a danger to society and required a longer period of incarceration. 

The charges against Thoreson were the result of an investigation conducted by the La Crosse Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Stephan prosecuted this case.

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 emphasizes coordination between state and federal prosecutors and all levels of law enforcement to address gun crime, especially felons illegally possessing firearms and ammunition and violent and drug crimes that involve the use of firearms.

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