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Press Release

Niles Man Indicted For Possessing A Firearm As A Felon And Possessing A Machinegun

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

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Lawrence Edward Slaughter II, 19, of Niles, with possessing a loaded Glock handgun when he was ineligible to possess firearms because of a prior felony conviction. The indictment also alleges that the handgun had been modified to a fully automatic firearm using a conversion device. A conversion device meets the federal definition of a “machinegun.”

          “Gun violence is an epidemic across America and here in Michigan that inflicts immense trauma on communities,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “The prevalence of machinegun conversion devices in the Western District is a particularly troubling trend that my office takes seriously. Criminals who traffic or possess these devices face the prospect of federal prosecution.” At the conclusion of the press conference, U.S. Attorney Totten affirmed his Office’s commitment to protect communities in every corner of the state: “Rest assured that whether you live in a big city or a small town, whether you work in a major metropolitan center or make your living working the land in the rural parts of the state: we are here to protect you and we will go anywhere to do so.”

          The indictment charges Slaughter with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of possession of a machinegun. The maximum possible penalty for felon in possession of a firearm is 15 years in prison; the maximum penalty for possession of a machinegun is 10 years.

          “Removing violent offenders from our communities is one of the highest priorities of the FBI and our law enforcement partners,” said Devin J. Kowalski, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “We are proud of our partnership with the Niles Police Department and of our combined efforts to remove the most violent offenders from this community.”

          “The Niles Police Department reaffirms its commitment to combatting illegal gun violence and possession within our community,” said Niles Police Department Captain Chad Mitchell. “By joining forces with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Niles Police Department aims to bolster its resources, intelligence-sharing capabilities, and prosecutorial strength to target and apprehend those involved in illegal gun activities.”

          The indictment was announced during a press conference at Niles Police Department with U.S. Attorney Totten, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan Devin Kowalski, Niles Department of Public Safety Director Mike Dawson, Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey, and the Michigan State Police. Video of today’s press conference can be viewed on the U.S. Attorney’s Facebook Page.

          The case was investigated by the Niles Police Department, the Michigan State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in Saint Joseph, Michigan. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney LaToyia Carpenter.

          A copy of the indictment is attached. The charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.


Updated September 5, 2023

Firearms Offenses