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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Southern District of Iowa

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nicholas A. Klinefeldt, United States Attorney

Contact: Kevin VanderSchel
(515) 473-9300

Pacific Junction Woman and Man Sentenced on Firearms Charges

COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA – On May 9, 2011, Gustine Evelyn Augustine, age 49, and Joseph Lynn Belt, age 36, of Pacific Junction, were sentenced for being prohibited persons in possession of firearms and ammunition, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt. United States District Court Judge James E. Gritzner sentenced Gustine Evelyn Augustine to 24 months of imprisonment, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Joseph Lynn Belt was sentenced to three years probation, to include 180 days of home detention except for maintaining his long-time employment. Judge Gritzner also imposed upon each defendant a $100.00 assessment for the Crime Victim Fund, and ordered the forfeiture of seven rifles and shotguns which were possessed by the two persons. Gustine Evelyn Augustine remained on pretrial release and supervision pending designation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons facility at which she will serve her sentence.

On February 9, 2011, a federal jury in Council Bluffs returned a verdict of guilty against Gustine Evelyn Augustine for being a prohibited person in possession of firearms. Joseph Lynn Belt entered a guilty plea to the charge in federal court in Council Bluffs on February 3, 2011.

On November 10, 2010, the federal grand jury returned a one-count superseding indictment against both defendants. In the superseding indictment Defendant Augustine was charged with being a person prohibited from possessing firearms because she was a prior convicted felon and because she was an illegal user of controlled substances. In the superseding indictment, Defendant Belt was charged with being an illegal user of controlled substances in possession of firearms. The charges arose from the exercise of a search warrant by the Mills County Sheriff's Department on July 23, 2010. In the course of the exercise of the search warrant, the firearms, ammunition, marijuana and paraphernalia associated with the use of methamphetamine were found and seized.

This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa. The case was investigated by the Mills County Sheriff’s Department and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.