United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Duane Kees announced last week that Joseph Shelby, 33, of Fort Smith, was sentenced to 77 months in federal prison for one count of knowingly possessing a firearm after a felony conviction in a case with roots to Booneville.

The sentence also calls for Shelby to be of supervised release upon his release.

According to court records, in July 2018, Shelby was observed driving a white Tahoe erratically in Booneville, byan Arkansas State Police Trooper. The trooper followed the vehicle to initiate a traffic stop. Shelby sped up and fled from the trooper. Shortly thereafter, Shelby lost control of the vehicle, and crashed into a ditch. Shelby attempted to flee on foot, but was apprehended.

A search of the vehicle yielded a Taurus, model PT738, .380 caliber pistol, with serial number obliterated, tucked between the driver’s seat, and the center console. Shelby had two prior felony convictions for robbery and theft of property.

Shelby was indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2018, and entered a guilty plea in February 2019.

This case was investigated by the Arkansas State Police, Booneville Police Department, Logan County Drug Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Fire, Tobacco, and Explosives (ATF).

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone.

Assistant United States Attorney Candace Taylor prosecuted the case for the United States. P.K. Holmes, III presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.