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jury convicts springfield man of marijuana, illegally possessing ammunition; faces at least 15 years in prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Springfield, Mo., man has been convicted by a federal jury of distributing marijuana and illegally possessing ammunition.

Gerald L. Smith, 37, of Springfield, was found guilty on Wednesday, July 11, 2012, of both counts contained in an April 6, 2011, superseding indictment.

According to evidence presented during the trial, Springfield police officers conducted a controlled buy from Smith on Nov. 19, 2010. A confidential informant arranged to meet at a grocery store parking lot, where he purchased marijuana from Smith.

Springfield police officers executed a search warrant at Smith’s residence on Dec. 15, 2010. Officers found a box that contained 43 rounds of .38-caliber ammunition in a backpack, along with several baggies and marijuana residue in the backpack.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Smith has prior felony convictions for assaulting a law enforcement officer and unlawful use of a weapon for firing a gun at a police officer, assault and robbery for beating a man with a baseball bat (resulting in multiple broken bones) and robbing him, domestic assault for punching a female in the head, tampering with a motor vehicle and assault for stealing a car and kicking a man, unlawful use of a weapon for carrying a concealed semi-automatic handgun, possession of crack cocaine and possession of methamphetamine.

Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo., deliberated for an hour before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple, ending a trial that began Tuesday, July 10, 2012.

Under federal statutes, Smith is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy A. Garrison and Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.

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