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Press Release

Grand Rapids Man To Spend Five Years In Prison For Trafficking Firearms

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

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN - Donte Timothy Bacon, 31, of Grand Rapids, was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment, Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today. In August, Bacon pled guilty to selling a firearm to a prohibited person and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Charles Lee Samuels, 28, earlier was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his lesser role in the crimes.

          On five different occasions in August and September 2014, Bacon sold a firearm to a person who was not permitted to possess it under federal law. One of the firearms was sold with a high-capacity magazine. Two of those firearms had been purchased by Bacon and Samuels and were sold after Bacon removed the serial numbers. During the final transaction, Bacon and Samuels used a hand-grinder to remove the serial number at the time of sale.

          In his final sentencing before retiring from the bench, U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell observed the seriousness of trafficking firearms. Judge Bell ordered Bacon to serve three years of supervised release following his term of custody and expressed his hope that Bacon will return as a productive member to his community.

          "The diversion of firearms for unlawful purposes or to those who cannot legally possess them endangers each and every member of our society," said Acting U.S. Attorney Birge. "The U.S. Attorney’s Office will prosecute those who willfully circumvent federal firearms laws designed to protect the public."

          "Selling firearms to prohibited individuals contributes to the cycle of gun violence plaguing our neighborhoods," said Special Agent in Charge Robin Shoemaker of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. "ATF will continue to use all available resources to put a stop to illegal gun sales. Let this conviction stand as a warning to others willing to put profit before public safety."

          The ATF conducted the investigation, with assistance from the Grand Rapids Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin M. Presant and Alexis M. Sanford prosecuted the case.


Updated January 26, 2017