News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

St. Paul career criminal indicted for possessing a sawed-off shotgun

July 17, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS— Earlier today in federal court, a career criminal from St. Paul was indicted for possessing a 20-gauge sawed-off shotgun. Michael Allen Smith, 31, was charged with one count of being a career criminal in possession of a firearm and one count of possession of a short-barreled shotgun. The indictment alleges that on April 28, 2012, police found Smith in possession of the gun.

Because he is a felon, Smith is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms at any time. He was convicted of assault in the fourth degree in Washington County in both 2005 and 2006 and murder in the third degree in Ramsey County in 2001. Since those offenses constitute crimes of violence, if Smith is convicted in the current federal case, he will be subject to the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. That act mandates a minimum of 15 years in federal prison. Inasmuch as the federal system does not have parole, offenders spend virtually their entire sentences behind bars.

In addition, the indictment alleges that the gun had a barrel length of less than 18 inches. If convicted on that charge, Smith faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison. All sentences, of course, are ultimately determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Minneapolis Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Newberry.

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.

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.

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