Casper Man Found Guilty on Federal Firearm Offenses

53-year-old Frank Ray Berris, of Casper was convicted by a federal jury for being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. The verdict was reached on June 11 following a two-day trial held before U.S. District Court Judge Kelly H. Rankin.

According to evidence presented at trial, on February 3rd, a Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) trooper conducted a traffic stop, near Casper, on a black Ford Explorer being driven by Berris. The defendant, who considers himself a “sovereign citizen,” was driving with fictitious license plates that said, “United States of America Republic Diplomat Foreign National” and “UCC1-308.” Berris was unable to provide proof of a valid driver’s license, insurance, or registration. While talking with Berris, the trooper noticed a pistol in a holster between Berris and the console and an AR-style rifle between the console and the passenger seat. Berris had a warrant for his arrest.

Following a three-hour standoff where the defendant refused to exit his car and told officers they would have to kill him, Berris eventually surrendered and was arrested.

Law enforcement executed a search warrant on the vehicle and seized a semiautomatic rifle, two semiautomatic pistols, and ammunition of various calibers. Berris was a convicted felon so he was prohibited by federal law from possessing any firearms or ammunition.

Berris was indicted by a grand jury and pleaded not guilty to the charges in March 2024. He represented himself at trial. Sentencing has been set for Sep. 3, 2024. He faces up to 15 years in federal prison and up to $250,000 in fines.