(TERRE HAUTE) - A rural Jasonville man has been convicted in U.S. District Court on a federal gun possession charge. Donald Bickel, was convicted in the Terre Haute Federal Court on Nov. 19 of being a felon in possession of firearm.
The Greene County Daily World reports, Bickel was remanded to the custody of the US Marshal and no sentencing date has been set.
Bickel was indicted by a federal grand jury March 19. United States Attorney Joseph Hogsett says Bickel faces up to 10 years in prison for the conviction.
The indictment alleges that on Jan. 19, Linton Police Department detectives found Bickel to be in possession of a New England 12-gauge shotgun and a Marlin .22 magnum rifle. Hogsett says Bickel is a convicted felon in two area counties and therefore is legally unable to possess a firearm.
Bickel has three felony convictions dating back to June, 2000 when he was convicted in Clay County for a class B felony dealing in a controlled substance charge. He was sentenced six years with the Indiana Department of Correction and was released in April 2002.
In May 2004, he was convicted in Clay County on class B felony charge of unlawful firearm possession by a serious felon. He was sentenced to 10 years and released in Jan. 2008.
Bickel's most recent conviction came in Sullivan County where he was sentenced in May 2004 on a dealing methamphetamine charge to 14 years. He was released in Nov. 2009.
In January, an ongoing investigation led by Linton Police Department Detective Sgt. Josh Goodman into unlawful possession of explosive devices by individuals resulted in Bickel's arrest with the assistance of Clay County Sheriff's Department and other agencies.
This investigation was ongoing since the fall of 2012 and all court records and warrants issued were sealed both in Greene and Clay county cases.
In addition to work by Linton police officers, a number of other law enforcement agencies and personnel were involved in this investigation: U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Greene County Drug Task Force including personnel from LPD, the Jasonville Police Department and Worthington Police Department with assistance provided by the Clay County Sheriff's Department, the Indiana State Police and the Indiana State Police Emergency Response Team.
When Bickel was arrested in Clay County, officers reported finding ammunition in Bickel's pocket and they observed firearms in plain view in Bickel's truck.
Bickel's latest arrest came as part of Hogsett's Violent Crime Initiative that was first announced in March, 2011.
Hogsett said Bickel's case should send a clear message to those in the criminal element that federal prosecution awaits those who violate these kinds of laws.
The federal prosecutor stressed that Bickel will serve a minimum of 85 percent of the actual conviction time - a much greater sentence than the roughly 50 percent of the sentence time on state level charges.
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