MINNEAPOLIS — A federal indictment unsealed late yesterday charges a 26–year–old Anoka felon with possessing a .40–caliber, semi–automatic pistol and a 12–gauge shotgun. The indictment charges Jesse Ray Bennett with one count of being an armed career criminal in possession of a firearm. The indictment, which was filed on June 5, 2012, was unsealed following Bennett’s initial appearance in federal court.
The indictment alleges that on November 11, 2011, Bennett possessed the two firearms. Because he is a felon, Bennett is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm at any time. His prior Hennepin County convictions include aggravated robbery in the first degree (2003), assault in the second degree (2003), burglary in the first degree (2006), and felon in possession of a firearm (2006). In addition, Bennett was convicted in Anoka County in 2005 for felon in possession.
Since those offenses constitute crimes of violence, sentencing in the current federal case, if Bennett 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. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Anoka 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.
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.