Minneapolis Felon Sentenced For Possessing A .40-caliber Pistol
MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 51-year-old Minneapolis felon was sentenced for possessing a .40-caliber pistol. United States District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery sentenced Ronnie James Woods to 180 months in federal prison on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Woods was indicted on June 19, 2012, and pleaded guilty on October 15, 2012.
In his plea agreement, Woods admitted that on May 3, 2012, he possessed a .40-caliber, Glock pistol while riding in a vehicle that was stopped by police. He then fled on foot, ultimately dropping the gun. Authorities subsequently apprehended him.
Because he is a felon, Woods is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm at any time. His prior convictions include second-degree robbery (Missouri, 1983), armed-criminal action (Missouri, 1983), forcible rape (Missouri, 1983), and kidnapping (Missouri, 1983). Woods also was convicted in Hennepin County, Minnesota, of first-degree burglary (1997) and fifth-degree controlled substances’ crimes (2009). In addition, he was convicted in St. Louis County, Minnesota, on two counts of third-degree controlled substances’ crimes (2002).
Since Woods’ prior offenses constitute crimes of violence or serious drug crimes, sentencing in the current federal case was subject to the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. That act mandates a minimum of 15 years in federal prison for anyone convicted in federal court of being a felon in possession of a firearm if that person also has at least three prior state or federal convictions for crimes of violence or serious drug crimes. Because the federal criminal justice system does not have parole, a convicted offender will spend virtually his entire prison sentence behind bars.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department and the U. S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Surya Saxena.
The case was charged under Project Exile Minneapolis. That law enforcement initiative was launched on July 22, 2010, as part of a city-wide effort to reduce gun violence. Through Project Exile, the Minneapolis Police Department and the ATF work together to apprehend serial criminals for violations of gun laws.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office then teams up with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine where those offenders will most effectively be prosecuted – state or federal court. Those determinations are based on the offenders’ criminal histories and current charges, among other factors. To date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has brought charges against almost two dozen serious habitual criminals through Project Exile Minneapolis.