Bronson Man Sentenced for Firearm Charges
GAINESVILLE, FL—Jamie Vincent Ward, 38, of Bronson, Florida, was sentenced late yesterday to seven years in prison for two charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
According to documents filed in the case, Ward was previously convicted in Georgia for the felony offenses of Escape, Theft by Taking, First Degree Arson, and Possession of Methamphetamine. Ward was a fugitive from Georgia, having absconded from probation on the methamphetamine conviction before his arrest in the federal case.
Ward was the Grand Dragon (leader) of the Florida-Georgia Klavern (chapter) of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (TAKKKK). On March 2, 2015, Ward asked his Grand Nighthawk (security officer) to convert a German Sports Gun .22 caliber rifle to a fully automatic weapon. On April 2, 2015, agents arrested Ward and served a search warrant at his Bronson residence. During that search, they seized a loaded Hi-Point nine millimeter pistol, as well as .22, 9 millimeter, and 12 gauge ammunition. Ward pled guilty on July 2, 2015.
The parties agreed that Ward was aware of, but did not participate in, a plot by other TAKKKK members to murder a former state prison inmate. While the Court expressly noted Ward’s First Amendment right to associate with other TAKKKK members, the Court found that Ward’s association with persons engaged in acts of violence and his failure to discourage or report the murder plot weighed against him at the sentencing hearing.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Office of Statewide Prosecution, whose joint investigation led to the convictions in this case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael T. Simpson.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. The office strives to protect and serve the citizens of the Northern District of Florida through the ethical, vigorous, and impartial enforcement of the laws of the United States, to defend the national security, to improve the safety and quality of life in our communities through the protection of civil rights, and to protect the public funds and financial assets of the United States. To access available public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.