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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Minnesota

For Immediate Release

June 19, 2012

B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney

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

Minneapolis Felon Indicted for Possessing a .40–Caliber Pistol

(Facing a mandatory minimum federal prison sentence of 15 years if convicted)

MINNEAPOLIS — Earlier today in federal court, a 50–year–old Minneapolis felon was indicted for possessing a .40–caliber pistol. Ronnie James Woods was charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, and one count of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug–trafficking offense.

The indictment alleges that on May 3, 2012, Woods possessed the Glock .40–caliber pistol. Because he is a felon, Woods is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm at any time. His prior convictions include second–degree robbery (Missouri, 1983), armed criminal action (Missouri, 1983), forcible rape (Missouri, 1983), and kidnapping (Missouri, 1983). Woods also was convicted in Hennepin County, Minnesota, of first–degree burglary (1997) and fifth–degree controlled substances crime (2009). In addition, he was convicted in St. Louis County, Minnesota, on two counts of third–degree controlled substances crime (2002). On May 3, 2012, he was allegedly carrying the .40–caliber Glock while in possession with intent to distribute approximately nine grams of crack cocaine.

Since Woods’ prior offenses constitute crimes of violence or serious drug crimes, sentencing in the current federal case, if Woods is found guilty, will be subject to the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. That act mandates a minimum of 15 years in prison for anyone convicted in federal court of being a felon in possession of a firearm if that person also has at least three prior state or federal convictions for crimes of violence or serious drug crimes. And because the federal criminal justice system does not have parole, a convicted offender’s entire prison sentence is virtually spent behind bars. All sentences in this case, however, will ultimately be determined by a federal district court judge.

This 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 Surya Saxena.

Note, this case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a comprehensive, strategic approach to reducing gun crime in America. PSN, launched by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2001, encourages cooperative, multi–jurisdictional law enforcement and crime prevention efforts.