News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

St. Paul career criminal indicted for possessing pistol

June 19, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 36-year-old St. Paul felon was indicated for allegedly possessing a .40-caliber pistol. Wendell Terrell Brown was specifically charged with one count of being an armed career criminal in possession of a firearm.

A law enforcement affidavit filed in the case states that on May 5, 2012, police conducted a traffic stop in downtown St. Paul of a car in which Brown was the front seat passenger. During a consensual search of the vehicle, officers recovered the pistol from the passenger side glove compartment.

Because he is a felon, Brown is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm at any time. Brown’s prior convictions include possession of a short-barreled shotgun (Ramsey County, 1998) and felon in possession of a firearm (Ramsey County, 2002). In addition, Brown was convicted in Hennepin County for terroristic threats (1998), Washington County for fourth-degree sale of a controlled substance (2010), and St. Croix County, Wisconsin, for possession with intent to distribute marijuana (2010).

Since some of those offenses constitute crimes of violence or serious drug offenses, sentencing in the current federal case, if Brown is found guilty, will be subject to the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. That act mandates a minimum of 15 years in federal prison for anyone convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm if that person also has at least three prior state or federal convictions for crimes of violence or serious drug crimes. And because the federal criminal system does not have parole, convicted offenders will serve virtually their entire prison sentences behind bars. All sentences, however, will ultimately be determined by a federal district court judge.

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

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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