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USAO Press Release - First Federal Indictment Unsealed in “Project Exile Minneapolis”

For Immediate Release

September 13, 2010

B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney

Contact: Jeanne F. Cooney
Director of Community Relations
(612) 664-5611
jeanne.cooney@usdoj.gov

First Federal Indictment Unsealed in “Project Exile Minneapolis”

The first federal indictment arising out of Project Exile Minneapolis has been unsealed. It charges Calvin Lorenzo Harris, age 24, of Richfield, Minnesota, with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of possessing an unregistered gun. The indictment, filed earlier this month, was unsealed following Harris’s initial appearance in federal court this afternoon.

Project Exile Minneapolis is a law enforcement initiative, 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.

Calvin Harris is a convicted felon. His past convictions include first-degree aggravated robbery in Hennepin County in 2004 and third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Hennepin County in 2006. As a result, he is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms at any time.

Nonetheless, on June 1, 2010, Harris allegedly possessed a 22-caliber, Ruger semiautomatic rifle, the barrel of which had been shortened to under 16 inches. Moreover, the gun had not been registered to Harris in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, as required by law. Consequently, he was arrested by Minneapolis police.

If convicted of the federal charges now filed against him, Harris faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, 10 on each charge. All sentences, of course, will be determined by a federal district court judge.

A number of other Project Exile Minneapolis cases are presently being prepared for federal charges. Meanwhile, County and federal prosecutors continue their regular review of all Minneapolis gun cases.

The Harris case is the result of an investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen A. Slaughter.

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.

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