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Muskegon man sentenced to prison for 'straw purchase' of firearms

• Jun 8, 2019 at 6:00 PM

GRAND RAPIDS — A Muskegon man was sentenced this week in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids to 103 months in a federal prison for manipulating his girlfriend into purchasing four firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition for him in late 2017.

Bobby Butch Pollard, 39, could not lawfully acquire or possess firearms or ammunition because he is a convicted felon, federal officials said.

Judge Janet T. Neff also imposed a term of three years of court supervision to follow Pollard’s release from prison.

The sentencing follows a trial in February in which a jury found Pollard guilty of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition – the guns and bullets his girlfriend had purchased for him were at his direction. Authorities call that a “straw purchase,” in which firearms are bought by one person on behalf of another who is legally unable to make the purchase.

His lengthy prior record includes convictions for drug offenses, assault and battery, assault with a dangerous weapon, domestic assault, failures to pay child support, and various criminal traffic offenses.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in conjunction with the Muskegon Police Department. It was prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys Jonathan Roth and Clay Stiffler as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, a nationwide initiative to reduce violent crime.

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