MINNEAPOLIS — Yesterday in federal court in St. Paul, a 29–year–old St. Paul man was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Phillip Anthony Roberts was convicted of one count of felon in possession of a firearm. Roberts was indicted on July 23, 2012.
The evidence presented at the one–day trial proved that on July 11, 2012, Roberts possessed a Hi–Point, .380–caliber pistol with an obliterated serial number. Because he is a felon, Roberts is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm at any time. Roberts’ prior Ramsey County convictions include second–degree controlled substance on January 7, 2003, and December 21, 2005. In Hennepin County, Roberts was convicted on April 3, 2009, of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm and on August 6, 2009, of third–degree controlled substance.
Since at least three of Robert’ prior convictions constitute a crime of violence or a serious drug offense, sentencing in the current case is 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.
For his crimes, Roberts faces a potential maximum penalty of life in federal prison, as well as possible fines and forfeitures. United States District Judge Donovan W. Frank will determine his sentence at a future hearing, not yet scheduled.
This case was the result of an investigation by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the St. Paul Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Paulsen.