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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Minnesota

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 11, 2011

B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney

Contact: Jeanne F. Cooney, Director of Community Relations
(612) 664-5611

Minneapolis Career Criminal Pleads Guilty to Possessing a .32 Caliber Revolver and Ammunition

Earlier today, a career criminal pleaded guilty in federal court in Minneapolis to possessing a .32 caliber revolver and ammunition on November 20, 2010. Appearing before United States District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis, Eugene Maurice Clanton, age 36, of Minneapolis, pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. He was indicted on December 15, 2010.

In his plea agreement, Clanton admitted that on November 20, he became belligerent while in the Hennepin County Medical Center’s pharmacy and ended up struggling with police. During that altercation, officers seized from him a .32 caliber revolver, loaded with four live rounds. Nonetheless, Clanton assaulted one of the officers and fled the scene before being taken into custody a short time later.

Because he is a felon, Clanton cannot possess firearms or ammunition at any time. Clanton’s prior convictions include second-degree assault (1995), felon in possession of a firearm (1996), third-degree sale of a controlled substance (2002), and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine (2004). Since at least three of those offenses were crimes of violence or serious drug crimes, Clanton is now subject to the federal armed career criminal statute, which mandates a 15-year minimum prison sentence. He faces a potential maximum penalty of life. Judge Davis will determine his actual sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.

Clanton was charged federally through Project Exile Minneapolis. That law enforcement initiative was launched on July 22, 2010, as part of a City-wide effort to reduce gun violence. Through Project Exile, the Minneapolis Police Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives work together to apprehend serial criminals for violations of gun laws. Then, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office teams up with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine where those offenders will most effectively be prosecuted – State or federal court. Those determinations are based on the offenders’ criminal histories and current charges, among other factors. To date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has brought charges against well in excess of a dozen serious habitual criminals through Project Exile Minneapolis.

This particular case was the result of an investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department and the Violent Crime Impact Team at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Hollenhorst.