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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

November 8, 2010

B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney

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

Wisconsin Felon Indicted for Dealing Illegal Firearms, Distributing Methamphetamine

A federal indictment unsealed last week alleges that a 31-year-old felon from Amery, Wisconsin, has been conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and dealing in firearms without being a licensed firearms dealer. The indictment, filed on November 1, 2010, charges John Philip Schanon with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of unlicensed dealing in firearms. The indictment was unsealed following Schanon’s initial appearance in federal court on November 5, 2010.

The indictment alleges that from June through October 17, 2010, Schanon conspired with others to possess with intent to distribute 50 or more grams of methamphetamine, and that between September 26 and October 17, 2010, he actually had the methamphetamine and was planning to sell it. It also alleges he engaged in the business of dealing in firearms without being a licensed dealer, and that on June 2, 2010, he possessed a handgun.

Because he is a felon, Schanon is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm at any time. Schanon’s prior felony convictions include homicide by negligent vehicle operation in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, in 2002, and fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance in Ramsey County in 2010.

If convicted, Schanon faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison on each methamphetamine-related charge, with a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years for each. He also faces potential maximum penalties of ten years on the felon in possession charge and five years for unlicensed dealing in firearms. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives-Violent Crime Impact Team and the Minneapolis Police Department’s Gang Enforcement Team. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen A. Slaughter. Note, this case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, an initiative launched by the U.S. Justice Department in 2001 to promote a multi-jurisdictional, comprehensive approach to reducing gun crime in America. PSN provides resources to strengthen law enforcement and crime prevention partnerships that are working to make our streets and communities safer.

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