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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

Friday, September 28, 2012

Career Criminal Pleads Guilty To Possessing A Semi-automatic Pistol

MINNEAPOLIS—Today in federal court, a 42-year-old career criminal pleaded guilty to possessing a stolen .45-caliber, semi-automatic pistol. Michael Scott Canfield, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Canfield, who was indicted on July 11, 2012, entered his plea before United States District Judge Joan N. Ericksen.

In his plea agreement, Canfield admitted that on June 25, 2012, he was in possession of a Colt, .45-caliber handgun after having been convicted of one or more felony crimes. He also admitted that the handgun had traveled in interstate commerce prior to his possession of the weapon. The investigation showed that on June 25, 2012, an Xcel Energy meter reader saw Canfield coming out of a house in Stillwater, Minnesota, carrying a firearm. Canfield claimed that “his” house had just been robbed. Canfield went to the back of the house and the meter reader heard gunfire. The police responded to the scene and determined that Canfield had stolen several items from the house. They recovered two .45-caliber shell casings at the scene. The police later found Canfield’s get-away car with some of the stolen goods in it. Near the car was a Colt Commander, .45-caliber, semi-automatic pistol.

Because he is a felon, Canfield is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm at any time. His prior felony convictions include “unauthorized use of a motor vehicle” in Ramsey Count in 1988, “damage to property” in Ramsey County in 1989, “receiving stolen property” in Ramsey Count in 1991 and again in 1993, “theft” in Ramsey Count in 1992 and again in 1994, “fleeing a peace officer’ in Ramsey County in 2006, “receiving stolen property” in Kanebec County in 1993, “second-degree burglary” in Sherburne County in 1996, “fleeing police in a motor vehicle” in Dakota County in 2006, “first-degree burglary” (two counts) in Stearns County in 2006, and “recklessly endangering safety” in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, in 2000.

Since at least three of Canfield’s prior offenses constitute crimes of violence, sentencing in the current federal case is subject to the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. That act mandates a minimum of 15 years in federal prison. And because the federal system does not have parole, offenders spend virtually their entire prison sentences behind bars. Judge Ericksen will determine Canfield’s sentence at a future hearing, not yet scheduled.

This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Stillwater Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Hollenhorst.

Note, this case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”), an initiative launched by the
U.S. Justice Department in 2001 to promote a multi-jurisdictional, comprehensive approach to
reducing gun crime in America. PSN provides resources to strengthen law enforcement and
crime prevention partnerships that work to make our communities safer.



Updated April 30, 2015