MINNEAPOLIS – Recently in federal court in St. Paul, a trial jury found a 31-year-old career criminal from St. Paul guilty of possessing a 20-gauge sawed-off shotgun. On December 14, 2012, Michael Allen Smith was convicted of one count of being a career criminal in possession of a firearm and one count of possession of an unregistered firearm. Smith was indicted on July 17, 2012.
The evidence presented at the three-day trial proved that on April 28, 2012, police found Smith in possession of an unregistered 20-gauge shotgun with a barrel length of less than 18 inches. Because he is a felon, Smith is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms at any time. He was convicted of assault in the fourth degree in Washington County in both 2005 and 2006 and murder in the third degree in Ramsey County in 2001. Since those offenses constitute crimes of violence, Smith is subject to the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. That act mandates a minimum of 15 years in federal prison. Inasmuch as the federal system does not have parole, offenders spend virtually their entire sentences behind bars.
For his crimes, Smith faces a potential maximum penalty of life in federal prison on one count of being a career criminal in possession of a firearm and ten years in prison on one count of possession of an unregistered firearm. United States District Judge Susan R. Nelson will determine his sentence at a future hearing, not yet scheduled.
This case was the result of an investigation by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Minneapolis Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Newberry.