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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 15, 2022

Savage Man Arrested, Charged with Possession of Machine Gun and Attempted Possession of Hand Grenades

MINNEAPOLIS – A Savage man has been arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint for possession of a machine gun and for attempting to receive and possess unregistered destructive devices, specifically hand grenades, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents and a law enforcement affidavit, on September 27, 2022, the FBI received a tip from a concerned citizen reporting disturbing behavior of a 20-year-old man, later identified as River William Smith. 

The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation revealed evidence that Smith was preparing for a violent exchange with police. Smith stated he is “pro mass shooting,” sympathized with the Parkland school shooter, and expressed admiration for the individual charged with the recent shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub. The FBI also discovered Smith had access to fully automatic rifles, handguns, suppressors, body armor and a Kevlar helmet. Smith stated that he was preparing to fight the police and was dedicated to dying in that fight.  Smith asked a government informant for grenades and an illegal part to convert his AR-15 style rifle into a fully automatic machine gun. On December 14, 2022, under supervision of law enforcement, a meeting between Smith and a government informant was arranged. At the meeting, Smith purchased three hand grenades and four auto sears. Smith was arrested by law enforcement.

Smith is charged with one count of possession of a machine gun and one count of attempt to receive and possess destructive devices. He appeared today in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge David T. Schultz. Smith was ordered to remain in detention pending further proceedings.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Manda Sertich and Andrew Winter, and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Justin Sher.

A complaint is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated December 15, 2022