Busted light leads police to find felon with illegal rifle in backpack

Published 1:41 pm Wednesday, January 10, 2024

A convicted felon was sentenced for illegally possessing a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson.

U.S. District Court Judge Liles C. Burke sentenced Joshua E. Gaines, 37, of Huntsville, to 51 months in prison. A jury convicted Gaines in September 2023 of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to evidence presented at trial, on May 13, 2020, a Huntsville Police Department officer stopped a vehicle for not having an illuminated tag. Gaines was a passenger in the vehicle. Officers recovered a rifle belonging to Gaines. The barrel and shoulder stock of the firearm were shortened such that the rifle fit into a backpack.

The ATF investigated the case along with the Huntsville Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Pillsbury and Russell Penfield prosecuted the case.