GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A Florida man was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison for two charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The case was investigated by the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Office of Statewide Prosecution.
Jamie Vincent Ward, 38, of Bronson, was the Grand Dragon (leader) of the Florida-Georgia Klavern (chapter) of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (TAKKKK). On March 2, Ward asked his Grand Nighthawk (security officer) to convert a German Sports Gun .22 caliber rifle to a fully automatic weapon. On April 2, special agents arrested Ward and served a search warrant at his Bronson residence. During that search, they seized a loaded 9 mm pistol, as well as .22-caliber, 9 mm, and 12-gauge ammunition. Ward pleaded guilty July 2.
According to documents filed in the case, Ward, was previously convicted in Georgia for the felony offenses of escape, theft by taking, first degree arson and possession of methamphetamine. Ward was a fugitive from Georgia, having absconded from probation on the methamphetamine conviction before his arrest in the federal case.
The parties agreed that Ward was aware of, but did not participate in, a plot by other TAKKKK members to murder a former state prison inmate. While the court expressly noted Ward’s First Amendment right to associate with other TAKKKK members, the court found that Ward’s association with people engaged in acts of violence and his failure to discourage or report the murder plot weighed against him at the sentencing hearing.