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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
Friday, December 8, 2023

Madison Man Sentenced to 4 Years for Illegal Gun Possession & Fentanyl Trafficking

MADISON, Wis. — Timothy M. O’Shea, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Messiah A. Fleming, 21, of Madison, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 48 months in federal prison for possessing a firearm as a felon and possessing fentanyl with the intent to distribute. The prison term will be followed by four years of supervised release. Fleming pleaded guilty to these charges on Sept. 1.

In October and November 2022, Fleming was intercepted over a wiretap speaking with a drug trafficker in Madison who was selling fentanyl pills which were designed to appear like commercially manufactured oxycodone pills. Fleming was often ordering hundreds of fentanyl pills at a time and believed to be distributing them in the Madison area.

On Nov. 24, 2022, a Madison Police Department officer observed a vehicle parked at a grocery store in Madison shortly after midnight with non-matching registration plates. The officer made contact with the driver, Fleming. The officer could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and observed a large quantity of cash at Fleming’s feet. When asked to see paperwork for the vehicle, Fleming stepped out of the car and shut the door. When the officer attempted to detain Fleming over a fear he would run, Fleming physically resisted and ordered his brother, who was also in the car, to grab a bag and the keys and leave. His brother did so while Fleming struggled with the officers.

Once Fleming was detained, officers searched his car and found a loaded Glock 9mm handgun with an extended magazine and bullet in the chamber, in the glove box. Officers also found multiple unlabeled pill bottles containing the fentanyl pills and labeled as oxycodone, additional handgun magazines and over $6,000 in cash. A forensic analyst later determined that Fleming’s DNA was on the Glock handgun.

At the time of these incidents, Fleming was on probation for a state case involving possession of a machine gun and possession of narcotic drugs. His probation was revoked and he was sentenced to one year in state prison.

At sentencing, Judge Peterson noted that Fleming received a significant break in his last case by receiving probation and immediately engaged in similar conduct resulting in the current federal case. He added that Fleming was dealing with a dangerous drug, fentanyl, as well as a dangerous weapon, a handgun with an extended magazine, and the sentence imposed was meant to protect the public from his conduct.

The charges against Fleming were the result of an investigation conducted by the Dane County Narcotics Task Force, Madison Police Department, United States Postal Inspection Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation. The Dane County District Attorney’s Office also provided assistance in the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven P. Anderson prosecuted this case.

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 of Justice 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.


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