U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Western District of Washington
Western District of Washington
For Immediate Release
February 28, 2014
Jenny A. Durkan, United States Attorney
Contact: Emily Langlie
Repeat Offender Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Possession of Stolen Firearms
Attempt to Steal Motorcycle on 1-5 Leads to Arrest and Discovery of Stolen Guns
A felon who attempted to steal a disabled motorcycle from the shoulder of Interstate 5 was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to ten years in prison and three years of supervised release for possession of stolen firearms, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. The investigation revealed that DONOVAN SMITH, 43, possessed eleven firearms – ten of which were stolen in residential burglaries in Texas and Washington. SMITH committed the Texas burglaries just weeks after his release from a New Mexico prison for a second degree murder conviction. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik ordered him to participate in drug treatment as part of his supervised release.
According to records filed in the case, SMITH was taken into custody by the Washington State Patrol following a May 17, 2012, incident on Interstate 5 near Seattle. The owner of a 1996 motorcycle suffered a flat tire and left the bike on the shoulder of the roadway while he went to get help. When he returned the motorcycle had been moved about a half mile north, and he saw SMITH attempting to remove the gas cap of the bike using a crow bar. The ignition of the bike had been damaged and was dangling from the frame. The victim called 9-1-1 and waited with his friends for the Washington State Patrol. SMITH and the woman who was driving his car were arrested for theft of a motor vehicle and malicious mischief. After obtaining a warrant to search SMITH’s car, investigators found the 11 firearms. When they searched SMITH’s Shoreline, Washington apartment they found other goods stolen in Texas including computers, cameras, and musical instruments (specifically violins and cellos). Also recovered in the apartment were two rifle scopes and a ballistic vest. The items recovered have been linked to seventeen residential burglaries in Texas and one residential burglary in Washington.
SMITH was charged federally on May 24, 2012 and pleaded guilty on March 6, 2013. SMITH has a lengthy criminal history including being a co-defendant in the 2002 murder of a 21-year-old woman in New Mexico. SMITH aided and abetted the homicide by fleeing the state with the firearm used to shoot the young woman and attempting to dispose of the gun. The first burglary connected with this case occurred just two weeks after SMITH was released from prison for the homicide.
The case was investigated by the Washington State Patrol and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).
The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs. Mr. Hobbs is a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute firearms cases in federal court.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.