Spencer Man Sentenced to Prison for Illegal Firearm Possession

A Spencer man has been sentenced to just over a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

35-year-old Joe Ripka was sentenced this past Friday. Ripka had previously been convicted of failure to affix a drug tax stamp in Emmet County District Court on October 23rd of 2017, which prohibited him from possessing a firearm.

According to evidence at plea and sentencing hearings, on December 22nd of 2021, law enforcement pulled over a vehicle Ripka was driving in Larrabee for driving without license plates. During the stop, Ripka showed signs of impairment. A K-9 was deployed on the vehicle and indicated the presence of controlled substances. Ripka admitted there was a firearm in the vehicle and that he was a felon. Law enforcement found a handgun in the driver’s side door.

Law enforcement inspected the vehicle later, and discovered a pack of cigarettes wedged between the seats containing one gram of methamphetamine.

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