MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court in St. Paul, a 31-year-old felon from Austin was sentenced for possessing an assault rifle. United States District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle sentenced Samuel James Johnson to 180 months in prison on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Johnson, who was indicted on April 17, 2012, pleaded guilty on June 6, 2012.
In his plea agreement, Johnson admitted that on November 4, 2010, he possessed a 7.62 x .39 caliber, semi-automatic assault-style rifle. Because he is a felon, Johnson is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition at any time. Johnson’s criminal history includes a number of convictions in Mower County: attempted simple robbery (2000), simple robbery (2007), possession of a short-barreled shotgun (2007), and sale of a simulated controlled substance (2007). In addition, Johnson has a Hennepin County conviction for felony theft (1999).
Since at least three of Johnson’s prior felony convictions were for crimes of violence or serious drug crimes, sentencing in this current case was subject to the Armed Career Criminal Act, which mandates a minimum of 15 years in federal prison.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, including the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; University of Minnesota Police Department; the Minneapolis Police Department; the St. Paul Police Department; the Fairmont Police Department; and the Minnesota Department of Corrections. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew R. Winter.