Charles J. Butter

Charles J. Butter

ERIE — A Crawford County man has pleaded guilty in federal court in a gun and drug case from two years ago.

Charles J. Butter, 43, is scheduled to be sentenced next year after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Erie to violating federal firearms and drug laws.

Butter was indicted by a federal grand jury in December 2017 for possession of several firearms while being a convicted felon and possessing gun silencers not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer record. In addition, Butter possessed pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and attempted to manufacture methamphetamine, according to the indictment.

Butter entered guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone, who scheduled sentencing for March 23, 2020. Butter faces up to 50 years in prison and a fine of $750,000 when he is sentenced, according to U.S. Attorney Scott Brady.

Butter initially was arrested Sept. 7, 2017, at his Guys Mills-area home on a total of 20 charges filed by Pennsylvania State Police, including possession of an AK-47 rifle.

Authorities allege Butter had materials for making methamphetamine, an AK-47 rifle with a fully loaded magazine as well as five more guns he was prohibited from possessing at his home and an outbuilding at 7509 Carpenter Road in Wayne Township, according to the criminal complaint filed in that case. The other guns seized were a .40 caliber pistol and a semi-automatic “tommy gun” on which the serial numbers had been obliterated, a .22 caliber rifle with a modified barrel, a 10/22 Ruger rifle, and a revolver, in addition to the AK-47, according to police.

The case subsequently was turned over by the Crawford County District Attorney’s Office to federal authorities for prosecution. The state police charges were withdrawn by the district attorney’s office Nov. 28, 2017. The federal charges were filed against Butter in U.S. District Court in Erie on Dec. 12, 2017.

Butter currently is serving a seven- to 15-year state prison sentence given to him by Crawford County Court of Common Pleas in March 2018 for methamphetamine and firearms charges.

In January 2018, Butter pleaded guilty to operating a methamphetamine lab, possession of a firearm with an altered serial number and being a person who is not to possess a firearm.

Those charges were filed by state police following a January 2017 investigation that ultimately led to the discovery of a methamphetamine lab at Butler's then-home on North Street in Meadville.

Butter is serving his state prison sentence at the State Correctional Institution-Forest near Marienville.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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