By Shereen Siewert
A 54-year-old Medford man will spend more than four years in federal prison after he was convicted Thursday of firearms charges, according to a Department of Justice news release.
Michael Alexander pleaded guilty to charges of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson sentenced Alexander to 49 months in prison on the charge, Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced Friday.
Alexander was convicted in 2016 in Taylor County of felony possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. He was sentenced to six years confinement in prison to be followed by eight years of extended supervision. Alexander was released from prison in May 2019 – approximately three years early – after completing the earned release program.
Prosecutors say Alexander on December 29 was stopped by a Marathon County sheriff’s deputy while driving in Rib Mountain. Alexander was wearing an empty holster, police said, and a deputy later found a .45 caliber handgun with a loaded magazine in a tool bag in the back seat.
Alexander admitted that the gun was his and said that he used it for shooting feral cats on his property. Alexander also admitted that marijuana and methamphetamine found in the trunk were his, and described himself as a small-time dealer, according to the DOJ.
In sentencing Alexander, Judge Peterson commented on the violation of trust that was placed in him by the early prison release and noted the danger that came along with guns being involved with drug transactions. Alexander was sentenced to 37 months in state prison after his supervision was revoked; the 49-month federal sentence imposed by Judge Peterson will be served concurrently with the time remaining on the state sentence.
The charge against Alexander was the result of an investigation conducted by the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Stephan.
This case was part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the U.S. Justice Department’s program to reduce violent crime. The PSN approach emphasizes coordination between state and federal prosecutors and all levels of law enforcement to address gun crime, especially felons illegally possessing firearms and ammunition, and violent crimes and drug crimes that involve the use of firearms.