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Justice News

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Steelton Resident Involved In Confrontation With Harrisburg Police Charged With Federal Firearm Violations

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Donnell Thomas, 26, of Steelton, Pennsylvania, was indicted today by a federal grand jury in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The indictment charges Thomas with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Possession of a Firearm in furtherance of Drug Trafficking, Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance, and Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the charges against Thomas are a result of allegations that in February 2013, Thomas attempted to ram a vehicle being driven by uniformed officers from the Harrisburg Police Bureau. He then fled from those officers but was ultimately apprehended after discarding a firearm with an obliterated serial number from the waistband of his pants. Upon his arrest, bags containing an alleged controlled substance were seized from his person and his vehicle.

     The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives and the Harrisburg Police Bureau and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Meredith A. Taylor as part of the on-going cooperative effort by federal, county and Harrisburg law enforcement agencies to fight violent crime in the city.

     Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

     A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Updated April 17, 2015