News and Press Releases


February 2, 2012


Fort Smith, Arkansas - Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that James S. Curtis appeared in U.S. District Court today in Fort Smith for his initial appearance. A complaint against Curtis was filed Tuesday charging him with knowingly possessing and causing a firearm to be present in a federal facility, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 930, and possession of a firearm by a person previously committed to a mental institution, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4). Curtis was arrested outside the United States Attorney’s Office on Sunday, January 29, 2012. If convicted, Curtis faces up to ten years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine.

According to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, officers with the Fort Smith Police Department were dispatched to the United States Attorney’s Office in reference to a suspicious person in a Jeep parked in the front parking lot of the office. When an officer arrived, he observed a man, later identified as Curtis, sitting in the driver’s seat of the Jeep apparently asleep. After waking Curtis, the officer was informed that Curtis wanted to see the U.S. Attorney and that he planned to wait in his vehicle until the office opened on Monday morning. As the officer was speaking with Curtis, he observed three pistol magazines on the dashboard of the vehicle and inquired of Curtis whether there were any weapons in the vehicle. After Curtis indicated that there were weapons present inside the vehicle, the officer asked if he had a concealed carry permit. Curtis told the officer that his concealed carry permit was revoked and he consented to a search of the vehicle. Shortly thereafter, additional officers arrived on the scene to assist in the search. Pursuant to the search, officers seized three pistols, a rifle and more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition.

Court records, subsequently obtained from Kentucky law enforcement officials, show that Curtis was committed involuntarily to a mental hospital in April 2010. Curtis was later released and continuing mental healthcare was recommended.

This case is being investigated by the Fort Smith Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Kenny Elser appeared in court today on behalf of the United States.

A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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