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Pacific Junction Woman & man sentenced on firearms charges


May 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

U-S Atty. Nicholas Klinefeldt

The U-S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa said today (Thursday) two Pacific Junction residents were sentenced Monday, to a total of five-years in prison for being persons prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.

U-S Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt say District Court Judge James E. Gritzner sentenced 49-year old Gustine Evelyn Augustine to 24 months of imprisonment, to be followed by two years of supervised release, and, 36-year old 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 ordered Augustine and Belt to pay a $100 fee to the Crime Victim Fund. In addition the defendants were ordered to forfeit of seven rifles and shotguns which were in their possession.

Gustine Augustine remained on pretrial release and supervision pending designation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons facility at which she will serve her sentence. A Federal jury in Council Bluffs found Augustine guilty On February 9th, 2011 of being a prohibited person in possession of firearms. Belt had entered a guilty plea to the charge against him a few days earlier.

On November 10th , 2010, a 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.  During the search, firearms, ammunition, marijuana and paraphernalia associated with the use of methamphetamine were found and seized. 

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