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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Phillips County Man Indicted On Weapons Charge

LITTLE ROCK – Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Grover Crossland, Resident Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), announced today that a Federal Grand Jury has returned an indictment charging Dentrel Maurice Bragg, 20, of Helena-West Helena, with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

The one-count indictment, returned on April 8, 2015, charges that on February 6, 2015, Bragg possessed a loaded Smith & Wesson, model SD40VE, .40 caliber pistol, and a loaded Colt, model Mustang, .380 caliber pistol.

“For more than four years my office, working in partnership with all federal law enforcement agencies, has focused significant attention on the entire Arkansas Delta region,” Thyer said. “While I am committed to continuing that focused attention in the Delta, today’s announcement highlights an additional commitment to support state and local law enforcement efforts to make Phillips County and the entire Arkansas Delta a safer place to live and work. Removing weapons from the streets in Phillips County is a high priority for all law enforcement.”

On February 6, 2015, a Helena-West Helena patrol officer initiated a traffic stop on a cream-colored four door Lincoln town car for no vehicle tags. The Lincoln Town Car stopped in a parking lot, and as the officer approached the vehicle, the officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana. The officer asked the driver and sole occupant, Bragg, to step out of the vehicle. While conducting a pat-down of Bragg, another officer found the loaded Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol in Bragg’s pocket. The loaded Colt .380 caliber pistol was located inside the vehicle. The Helena-West Helena Police 425 West Capitol Avenue, Suite 500 (501) 340-2600 Post Office Box 1229 Little Rock, Arkansas 72203-1229 Department determined that the Colt .380 caliber pistol had been reported stolen out of Jonesboro.

Bragg was previously convicted of Battery First Degree and Terroristic Act, felony offenses, on October 22, 2012, in Phillips County Circuit Court Case No. 2012-123. The offense of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), carries the following penalties: Not more than 10 years imprisonment; not more than 3 years supervised release; and up to a $250,000 fine.

Bragg will appear before United States Magistrate Judge Beth Deere for plea and arraignment later this month, at which time a trial date will be set.

The case is being prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” program—a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy led by ATF, in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. This investigation was conducted by the ATF and the Helena-West Helena Police Department, along with the Arkansas State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julie Peters.

An indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated July 14, 2015