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Cave Junction man sentenced to over 14 years in federal prison for drug and firearms charges

Oregon – William Thomas Gillespie, a 39-year-old resident of Cave Junction, Oregon, has been sentenced to over 14 years in federal prison for multiple charges, including illegal drug possession and firearms violations.

Extensive Criminal Activities Lead to Harsh Penalties

William Thomas Gillespie was handed a 173-month sentence in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release due to his continued criminal behavior while under state supervision. This sentence was pronounced on Thursday, reflecting the culmination of a prolonged law enforcement effort to address his repeat offenses.

Gillespie’s arrest and subsequent sentencing stem from an incident on April 6, 2020, when he was apprehended in White City, Oregon, while attempting to deliver approximately 174 grams of methamphetamine. At the time of his arrest, he was found in possession of six baggies of methamphetamine and a digital scale, signaling his active engagement in drug distribution.

The situation escalated when Gillespie consented to a search of his residence, where investigators discovered and seized an alarming arsenal of 12 firearms. Among these weapons were an AR-15, multiple AK-style rifles, three stolen firearms, and one with an obliterated serial number, further complicating his legal troubles.

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Legal Proceedings

The legal journey leading to Gillespie’s sentencing began with a three-count indictment by a federal grand jury in Medford on November 5, 2020. The charges included illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, illegal possession of a short-barrel rifle, and possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Gillespie initially pleaded guilty to the firearm and drug charges on August 1, 2022, after being released pending trial in June 2021.

However, his case took a turn when he absconded from his supervised release in January 2023, leading to a warrant for his arrest. He was eventually apprehended on September 13, 2023, in Bandon, Oregon, marking the end of his time on the run.

“This lengthy prison sentence is a just outcome for a man who poses a significant danger to the community,” expressed Nathan J. Lichvarick, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eugene and Medford Branch Offices. His sentiment was echoed by Jonathan Blais, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Seattle Field Division, who highlighted the importance of rigorous investigation and prosecution of individuals compromising community safety through illegal actions.

Dedicated Law Enforcement Collaboration

The successful resolution of this case was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement Team (RADE), a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force. This team, supported by the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, includes members from Oregon State Police, the Grants Pass Police Department, Josephine County Probation & Parole, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith R. Harper prosecuted the case.

Marcella Quintana


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