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Press Release

Owatonna Man Sentenced to Prison for Possessing an Unregistered Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – An Owatonna man was sentenced to 31 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for possessing an unregistered firearm. Acting U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Nancy E. Brasel sentenced the defendant.

According to court documents, the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office received information that Dayton Charles Sauke, 23, was selling narcotics and manufacturing and dealing firearms without a license. Sauke used his Snapchat account to advertise privately made firearms, or “ghost guns,” which he described as “untraceable” and “throwaway murder pieces.” Sauke also posted pictures of a short-barreled shotgun and made several threatening posts about killing law enforcement and politicians.

According to court documents, on January 15, 2021, two undercover agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) met with Sauke and purchased from him a privately made firearm. During the meeting, Sauke had a short-barreled shotgun with him and showed it to the undercover agents. The short-barreled shotgun was later recovered by law enforcement officials and examined by an ATF expert, who determined it was an operable 12-gauge shotgun with a barrel length of approximately 11 inches and a total overall length of 18 inches. Federal law requires shotguns with reduced barrels and overall lengths (often referred to as “sawed-off” or “short-barreled” shotguns) to be registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. The shotgun was not registered to Sauke.

“Sauke’s actions and statements leading up to his arrest were very concerning, which is why law enforcement quickly intervened,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge William J. McCrary, of the St. Paul Field Division. “We are thankful for the investigative work of the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, South Central Drug Investigations Unit, Cannon River Drug Task Force, and our federal partners at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, FBI, and U.S. Attorney’s Office. I’m especially proud of our ATF agents who quickly responded to this matter, and whose prompt actions helped to interrupt Sauke’s potential plans for violence. This collaborative work readily demonstrates, at all levels, law enforcement’s on-going commitment to public safety.”

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the ATF, FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, the South Central Drug Investigations Unit, and the Cannon River Drug Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin A. Wesley is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 18, 2022

Firearms Offenses