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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Minnesota
Andrew M. Luger, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, September 2, 2022

Minneapolis Felon Pleads Guilty to Illegal Possession of a Firearm

MINNEAPOLIS – A Minneapolis man has pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm as a felon, announced United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, on June 23, 2021, William Kenneth Saarela Sr., 42, stole a Canik 9mm pistol. On September 2, 2021, during a domestic dispute with two other individuals, Saarela directed his minor son to bring him the pistol. Saarela fired six shots. No one was injured. On September 21, 2021, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Saarela’s Minneapolis residence and recovered the pistol, which was loaded with 18 rounds. Because Saarela has multiple prior felony convictions he is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition at any time.

Saarela pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim to one count of possessing a firearm as a felon. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Minneapolis Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melinda A. Williams is prosecuting the case.

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