For Immediate Release
Federal Jury Convicts Two Men for Illegal Possession of a Firearm
ST. PAUL, Minn. – A federal jury found two men guilty of illegal possession of a firearm, announced Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk.
Following a three-day trial before Judge Paul A. Magnuson, a jury found Jarvae Josiah Somerville, 28, of White Bear Lake, and Ronald Donte Finley, Jr., 26, of Minneapolis, guilty of one count each of illegal possession of a firearm.
“The increase in violence, throughout the Twin Cities, often as a result of firearms in the possession of felons, must end. The U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to working with our local law enforcement partners to focus on those individuals who put public safety at risk,” said Acting United States Attorney W. Anders Folk. “Today’s verdict helps reaffirm our collective commitment to reducing the gun violence.”
“When ATF was asked to take part in the U.S. Attorney’s Violent Crime Task Force initiative last summer, we fully committed to investigating the top violent offenders wreaking havoc in Minneapolis,” said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeff Reed, of the St. Paul Field Division. “It’s clear with today’s verdict that these two had little regard for the safety of others. We hope this verdict is a warning to those who are illegally possessing and using firearms in the Twin Cities. ATF continues to work alongside the Minneapolis Police Department and our other law enforcement partners to pursue individuals choosing to inflict violence on others using firearms.”
According to the evidence presented at trial, Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers were investigating a shooting, when the officers witnessed Somerville and Finley at a restaurant on Lake Street in Minneapolis. While Somerville was inside the restaurant and Finley was outside near an Infinity sedan that the men were driving, officers moved in to make an arrest. When officers approached Finley, Finley ran from the Infinity sedan but was apprehended and arrested. Inside the Infiniti sedan, officers found a Sig Sauer 9mm semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine. When officers entered the restaurant and attempted to arrest Somerville, Somerville ran inside a private bathroom in the back of the restaurant. Two officers chasing Somerville followed Somerville inside, and Somerville reached into his waistband. Concerned that Somerville was reaching for a firearm, an officer grabbed Somerville’s hands, and the three men struggled until other officers arrived to assist. After Somerville was handcuffed and taken into custody, officers recovered from the floor of the bathroom a Glock, .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine.
After the arrests, officers executed a search warrant at Somerville’s residence and found a box of .45 caliber ammunition the same model of which was found in the firearm found in the bathroom. Officers also found a gun cleaning kit. Investigators later confirmed that Finley’s fingerprints were present on the magazine of the 9mm pistol found in the Infiniti sedan.
Because Somerville has prior felony convictions in Hennepin County and Finley has prior felony convictions in Cook County, Illinois, they are prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition at any time.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Minneapolis Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Calhoun-Lopez tried the case.