Marion man with large cache of weapons will serve 3 years in federal prison

By Trish Mehaffey, The Gazette

MARION — A Marion man who had 21 guns, marijuana and a large cache of ammunition was sentenced Monday to over three years in federal prison for a firearms charge.

Clint A. Hughes, 33, pleaded guilty in March to one count of possession of firearms and ammunition as an unlawful drug user. He was charged after an annual maintenance inspection was conducted at his Marion apartment, 1331 Grand Ave, Apt. 4 Aug. 28, 2013, and apartment management reported a strong odor of marijuana and two large gun safes to Marion police, according to a plea agreement.

According to the plea, police recovered from Hughes’ apartment a small quantity of marijuana and paraphernalia and 28 weapons including six rifles, three shotguns, three assault rifles and nine handguns. Hughes also had “several hundred rounds” of ammunition, including 90 high capacity magazines, and handgun speed loaders and assorted guns parts. Some of the guns were found in one of the gun safes and other areas of the apartment.

Hughes tested positive for marijuana the day of the search and when a federal warrant was executed Aug. 29, 2013, according to the plea.

U.S. District Chief Judge Linda Reade said Monday during sentencing that Hughes had a 20 year history of substance abuse and she pointed out he violated his pretrial release by repeatedly testing positive for marijuana and continuing to deny he used the drug.

Marion Police Lt. Scott Elam said Hughes was a “survivalist,” which would explain the large arsenal found. He didn’t think Hughes had the weapons because of drugs.

Reade mentioned this during sentencing, expressing her concern that he was a survivalist and told police he had another hidden location where he stored more guns.

Elam said Hughes never told them a location and they never found it.

Hughes also made a false statement on a firearms transaction record when he purchased a Glock pistol from Cedar Valley Outfitters in Marion but that charge was dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Hughes also will be on supervised release for three years after serving his prison time and must forfeit the firearms and ammunition as part of this conviction.

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