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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Montana

For Immediate Release

June 1, 2011

Michael W. Cotter, United States Attorney

Contact: Jessica T. Fehr, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana
(406) 247- 4637

Love Thomas Wright Cooper Sentenced in U.S. District Court

The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session inBillings, on June 1, 2011, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, LOVE THOMAS WRIGHT COOPER, a 31-year-old resident of Emigrant, appeared for sentencing. COOPER was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 80 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

COOPER was sentenced after a federal district court trial in which he was found guiltyof being a felon-in-possession of a firearm. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittakerprosecuted the case for the United States.

At trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.

On March 6, 2010, a Park County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop of COOPER’s vehicle for speeding. COOPER was observed by radar traveling 80 MPH in a 65MPH zone. He was driving an unregistered vehicle with a fictitious license plate, no insurance, and a revoked driver’s license. When the deputy approached the driver’s door,COOPER, the only individual in the vehicle, only slightly lowered the window. COOPERrefused to cooperate with the deputy and remained in the pickup truck talking to an unknownindividual on his cell phone. After some time, and after repeated requests by deputies to doso, COOPER finally exited the vehicle.

When deputies patted-down COOPER's person, they discovered a loaded Waltherpistol in a holster on his waist. After being taken into custody, and during a vehicle inventorysearch, a loaded Ruger pistol was found on the rear passenger floorboard of the vehiclebeing driven by COOPER.

On March 30, 2000, COOPER had been convicted of unlawful wounding in theCommonwealth of Virginia and as a result was prohibited from possessing firearms.
Testimony at trial revealed that COOPER considered himself a Sovereign Citizen andnot a citizen of the United States – therefore, COOPER believed he did not have to followthe laws of the United States.

In response to the Court’ sentencing of COOPER, U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotterfor the District of Montana said, The cooperative efforts of all of the law enforcementagencies involved in the investigation of Mr. Cooper are to be commended. Today'ssentence sends a clear message to all citizens that no one is above the laws of this country– including Mr. Cooper.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the truth in sentencing guidelinesmandate that COOPER will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federalsystem, COOPER does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for goodbehavior. However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Park County Sheriff’s Office,the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations and theBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.