A Casper man was convicted by a federal jury for being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition 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 Feb. 3, a Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) trooper conducted a traffic stop, near Casper, on a black Ford Explorer being driven by 53-year-old Frank Ray 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 responded, "'Actually I'll bet you $1000 you can't show me a law where I have to have a driver's license, let alone the authority to tell me how fast I'm going," according to the affidavit.

The trooper asked him if he had a driver's license, to which Berris said, "'Why would I need one?'" The trooper asked if he had any identification, and Berris said "'I'm not dealing in commerce, here's my passport.'"

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.

WHP, Natrona County Sheriff’s Office and Mills Police Department responded to the scene and special agents with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and FBI investigated this crime. Assistant U.S. Attorney Makenzie Morrison and Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Sprecher prosecuted the case.

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