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Anchorage, Alaska â€“ United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that seven Anchorage residents were charged with firearms crimes in five separate indictments handed down by a federal grand jury in Anchorage.
On November 17, 2011, a two-count indictment was returned charging John Stern, 20, and Mitchell Cupp, 19, with stealing a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer and possession and disposal of a stolen firearm. Another two-count indictment charged Amber Helmann, 30, and Joseph Price, 24, with possession and disposal of a stolen firearm, and Price with being a felon in possession of a firearm. In separate one-count indictments, Christopher Everly, 18, Laurie Plyle, 39, and Kevin Angel, 29, were charged with possession and disposal of a stolen firearm. The defendants are residents of Anchorage, Alaska.
Stern, Cupp, and Everly appeared in federal court on November 21, 2011 for arraignment on the charges. Trial is set to commence in the middle of January 2012.
The charges arise out of the burglary of the Three Bears, a gun and grocery store in Wasilla, that occurred on October 17, 2011. The State of Alaska has also charged these defendants with crimes arising out of that event.
Assistant United States Attorney Stephan Collins, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that the firearms charges carry a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or both. 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.
The ATF and the Alaska State Troopers coordinated to conduct the investigation leading to the indictment 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.