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Press Release

Career Criminal Sentenced to Over 12 Years in Federal Prison for Illegal Gun Possession and Methamphetamine Trafficking

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

EVANSVILLE – Luke Smith III, 48, of Evansville, Indiana, was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

According to court documents and evidence introduced in court, on November 22, 2019, law enforcement officers learned that Smith was selling drugs, was just released from prison, and was known to carry a gun. Officers located Smith and initiated a traffic stop of his vehicle. Officers searched Smith’s vehicle and found a pill bottle in the middle console, which contained 2.5 grams of methamphetamine.

Officers continued to search Smith’s vehicle and found plastic wrap, baggies, several rounds of .380 and 9mm ammunition, and a 9mm pistol. Smith was searched and officers found a digital scale and a single round of 9mm ammunition on his person. During transport to the jail, Smith admitted to officers that they’d find his DNA on the firearm and that he handled the gun daily.

Smith has previous felony convictions in state court for battery resulting in bodily injury to a pregnant woman and robbery. Smith is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition by federal law due to his felony convictions.

Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, and Herbert J. Stapleton, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office, made the announcement.

FBI investigated the case and the Evansville Police Department provided valuable assistance. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young. As part of the sentence, Judge Young ordered that Smith be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for three years following his release from federal prison.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew B. Miller who prosecuted this case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Updated December 8, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses