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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sarasota County Residents Charged With Possession Of Grenades, Pipe Bombs, Drugs, Firearms, And Ammunition

Tampa, FL – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the filing of indictments against Venice residents Steven M. Pace (24) and Katie Smith (24) for possessing destructive devices.  Pace also was charged with possessing with the intent to distribute a Schedule I controlled substance (AB-fubinaca, a.k.a “Spice”) and possessing a firearm in furtherance of that drug trafficking crime. If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for the destructive device charge. Pace also faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the drug charge and a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years on the firearm offense. The indictments also notify Pace and Smith that the United States intends to forfeit any firearms and ammunition that are traceable to proceeds of the offenses.

According to court documents, in February 2016, Pace and Smith each possessed four destructive devices, specifically, two improvised pipe bombs and two improvised grenades that had not been registered to them in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record as required by law. Pace is also charged with possessing with intent to distribute approximately 280 grams or more of “Spice” and possessing a Glock and ammunition in furtherance of that crime. 

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless,  and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kaitlin R. O’Donnell.

Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated June 8, 2016