Home Anchorage Press Releases 2011 Superseding Indictment Returned in Firearms Violation Case

Superseding Indictment Returned in Firearms Violation Case
Two Fairbanks Men Charged with Additional Crimes of Possessing Firearms During Crime of Violence and Possession of Additional Destructive Devices

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 18, 2011
  • District of Alaska (907) 271-5071

ANCHORAGE—United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that two Fairbanks men were indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage for two additional federal weapons crimes.

On November 17, 2011, Coleman L. Barney, 36, a North Pole resident, and Francis Schaeffer Cox, 27, a Fairbanks resident, were charged in a superseding indictment that each carried a firearm in connection with a crime of violence, and that they each possessed an additional destructive device in the form of a grenade launcher and associated grenade.

The initial indictment, returned in March, 2011, charged Coleman Barney, Schaeffer Cox, and Lonnie Vernon with conspiracy to obtain destructive devices, including grenades, and firearms silencers. In that indictment Cox was also charged with possessing an unlawful Sten machine gun and an illegal firearm silencer, and that Cox and Barney also possessed destructive devices in the form of hand grenades. According to the superseding indictment, the additional counts against Barney and Cox allege new weapons crimes by carrying firearms in connection with the purchase of hand grenades and silencers, and for possessing a 37mm grenade launcher loaded with a crowd control-type grenade known as a “Hornets Nest.”

Assistant United States Attorneys Steven Skrocki and Joseph Bottini, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that the weapons charges each carry a maximum penalty of between five and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or both. The charges against Barney and Cox for carrying a firearm during a crime of violence carries an additional term of five years in prison upon conviction of the charges for conspiring to possess hand grenades and silencers. Under federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants. All three defendants remain in custody pending trial.

The FBI, ATF, the United States Marshal’s Service, the Alaska State Troopers, and the Fairbanks Police Department coordinated to conduct the investigation leading to the indictments in this case.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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