MINNEAPOLIS – A Maplewood man has pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a firearm as a felon, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats.
According to court documents, on October 12, 2021, Metro Transit Police Officers were dispatched to a report of a vehicle stuck on the light rail tracks in St. Paul. At the scene they found Deandre Lenier Neal-Hill, 34, unconscious in the driver’s seat of a maroon Chevrolet Malibu. The vehicle, with the engine still reviving, had a flat tire and was stuck in the tracks. Officers removed an unresponsive Neal-Hill from the vehicle and began preforming emergency medical aid until the paramedics arrived and took him to a hospital.
According to court documents, as officers extracted Neal-Hill from the vehicle, officers observed a black handgun on the floorboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle, which was later determined to be an FNH USA model 503 9mm semiautomatic pistol. Neal-Hill’s pistol was loaded with one round in the chamber and seven bullets in the inserted magazine. Neal-Hill was also in possession of marijuana, methamphetamine, and oxycodone pills.
Because Neal-Hill has prior felony convictions, including convictions of drive-by shooting, assault, and drug sale, he is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition at any time.
This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the ATF, the FBI, the St. Paul Police Department, and the Metro Transit Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew S. Ebert and Thomas Calhoun-Lopez are prosecuting the case.