Idaho Falls Man Sentenced for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

POCATELLO – An Idaho Falls man was sentenced to 80 months in federal prison for unlawful possession of firearm.

According to court records, on July 15, 2020, officers with the Idaho Falls Police Department were conducting a follow up investigation on an unrelated theft case when they encountered Joshua Nathan Kelly, 39, at a residence near downtown Idaho Falls. Kelly fled the area when law enforcement attempted to contact him. He left behind a backpack that contained two stolen firearms and 20 grams of methamphetamine. Kelly was apprehended by law enforcement later the same day. Kelly has previously been convicted of a felony and was prohibited from possessing firearms.

Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye, who sentenced Kelly, took into account that the firearms Kelly possessed were stolen and that Kelly also possessed methamphetamine in connection with possession of the firearms. Judge Nye also ordered Kelly to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his more than six and a half years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr., of the District of Idaho made the announcement and commended the cooperative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Idaho Falls Police Department, which led to charges.

This case was handled by the U.S. Attorney Office’s specially deputized Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA), funded by the Eastern Idaho Partnership (EIP) and the State of Idaho. The EIP is a coalition of local city and county officials in eastern Idaho as well as the Idaho Department of Correction.

The EIP SAUSA program allows law enforcement to utilize the federal criminal justice system – through the EIP SAUSA – to prosecute, convict, and sentence violent, armed criminals and drug traffickers. These criminals often receive stiffer penalties than they might in state courts.

This program was created in January 2016. Since that time, approximately 185 defendants have been indicted by the EIP SAUSA. Of these defendants, 21 have been indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm. The defendants indicted under the program have been sentenced to 8,062 months (approximately 672 years) in federal prison, representing an average prison sentence of 53.4 months (4.45 years). Defendants indicted for unlawfully possessing a firearm serve, on average, approximately 40.5 months (3.4 years) in federal prison.