U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Minnesota
District of Minnesota
For Immediate Release
October 15, 2012
B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney
Contact: Jeanne F. Cooney
Minneapolis Felon Pleads Guilty to Possessing a .40-caliber Pistol
MINNEAPOLIS – Today in federal court, a 50-year-old Minneapolis felon pleaded guilty to possessing a .40-caliber pistol. Ronnie James Woods pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Woods, who was indicted on June 19, 2012, entered his plea before United States District Judge Ann D. Montgomery.
In his plea agreement, Woods admitted that on May 3, 2012, he 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, Woods was carrying the .40-caliber Glock while he was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by the police. Woods then fled from the police on foot and ran into an obstacle, at which point he dropped the gun.
Since Woods' prior offenses constitute crimes of violence or serious drug crimes, sentencing in the current federal case 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 from 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. For his offense, Woods faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison. Judge Montgomery will determine his sentence at a future hearing, not yet scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department and the United States ATF. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Surya Saxena.
Note, this case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods ("PSN"), 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 work to make our communities safer.