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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Minnesota

For Immediate Release

Feburary 5, 2013

B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney

Contact: Jeanne F. Cooney, Director of Community Relations

(612) 664-5611

Maplewood Felon Pleads Guilty to
Possessing .32-Caliber Revolver

MINNEAPOLIS —Earlier today in federal court in St. Paul, a 35–year–old felon from Maplewood pleaded guilty to possessing a loaded .32–caliber revolver. Derek Lee Preston pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Preston, who was indicted on April 12, 2011, entered his plea before United States District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank.

In the plea agreement, Geraci admitted that on April 10, 2012, he possessed a sawed–off shotgun, which was not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Geraci had the shotgun in his possession while driving a stolen minivan in the parking lot of the Uni/Dale Mall in St. Paul, where he was ultimately arrested. Geraci further admitted that he had the firearm because he intended to use it in connection with another felony offense, namely aiding and abetting the distribution of methamphetamine.

In his plea agreement, Preston admitted that on January 25, 2011, he possessed the weapon while a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by Minneapolis Police. Preston was asked to exit the vehicle, and officers found the weapon while searching him. In addition, officers found recovered 7.5 grams of marijuana and nearly four grams of crack cocaine.

Because he is a felon, Preston is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition at any time. Preston’s prior Hennepin County convictions include unlawful possession of a pistol (1997), attempted first-degree aggravated robbery (1997), fifth–degree controlled substance crimes (1999 and 2009), a second–degree controlled substance crime (2001), terroristic threats (2005), violation of a no-contact order (2009), attempted violation of a no–contact order (2009), and domestic assault (2010).

The U.S. contends that because at least three of these convictions constituted crimes of violence or serious drug offenses, Preston will be subject to the Armed Career Criminal Act in the current federal case. That act mandates a minimum of 15 years in prison for anyone convicted in federal court for being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition if they have three or more prior violent crime or serious drug convictions. Judge Frank will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department, and the
Violent Crime Impact Team for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Surya Saxena and Andrew Dunne.

The case was charged federally through Project Exile Minneapolis. That law enforcement initiative was 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 ATF 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. To date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has brought charges against more than a dozen serious habitual criminals through Project Exile Minneapolis.