SIOUX CITY -- Matthew Lynam is the type of person that local police and prosecutors are keeping an eye out for when enforcing gun laws.
Lynam, also known as "Soldier," was one of five people indicted on federal gun charges a year ago for a conspiracy to steal firearms and sell them. Lynam, 32, used at least one of those stolen guns to commit other crimes and was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to possess and sell stolen firearms, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Duax said people like Lyman, offenders with a past criminal history who show signs of moving on to more violent activities, are a focus of ongoing law enforcement efforts to identify and stop potential violent offenders, such as those convicted of domestic abuse and other serious crimes, before they can hurt someone.
"Taking guns out of the hands of certain people ... makes our community safer," Duax, chief of the U.S. Attorney's Sioux City office, told the media Monday.
Sioux City police Chief Rex Mueller said his officers are continually identifying offenders who are becoming more violent. If those people commit gun crimes, Mueller said a partnership with the U.S. Attorney's Office ensures harsher punishments than what's available if the offender is charged in state court.
"We work with the U.S. Attorney to get them off the streets and give them significant sentences so they can't continue to victimize our citizens," Mueller said.
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Lynam is one of more than 20 defendants prosecuted for federal firearms crimes in the past 90 days, Duax said.
Lynam was charged with dividing up guns that had been stolen by Colton Novak, Tylor Boyd and Daniel Powell, who had driven from Sioux City to Greene County, Iowa, where they broke into a shop and took the guns, cash and other items.
Police recovered two of the stolen guns on Feb. 7, 2018, when Powell and Lynam were pulled over in a traffic stop in Sioux City. Other guns had been traded or hidden.
Novak, Boyd and Powell were sentenced in March to prison sentences of 50, 72, and 99 months, respectively.
A fifth man charged in the case, Drew Johnson, was found not guilty of taking part in the conspiracy by a federal jury in October.
Lynam initially faced robbery and assault charges in Woodbury County District Court for incidents in which he fired warning shots at robbery victims. Those charges were dismissed once he was indicted in federal court.