Anoka man faces federal charge

An Anoka man is facing federal charges for being a career criminal in possession of a firearm.

Jesse Ray Bennett
Jesse Ray Bennett

Convicted felon Jesse Ray Bennett, 26, 500 Greenhaven Road, has been accused in United States District Court of possessing .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol and a 12-guage shotgun back in November 2011. Felons are not allowed to be in possession of a firearm at any time.

In 2003 Bennett was convicted of aggravated robbery in the first degree, followed by convictions for assault in the second degree in 2003 and burglary in the first degree in 2006. He was also convicted in Anoka County for being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2005 and the same offense in Hennepin County in 2006.

The federal firearms charge stems from an investigation by the Anoka Police Department and the Unites States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Bennett was also scheduled to go on trial June 25 in Anoka County District Court on second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault charges.

These are in connection with a Nov. 11, 2011 shooting in which a man was injured. A warrant had been issued for Bennett’s arrest and he was apprehended at a Coon Rapids apartment Nov. 23, 2011.

According to the complaint, the victim had been drinking with Bennett and several others during the day of Nov. 11 at various establishments in Anoka and Coon Rapids.

After returning to a home on Benton Street in Anoka, the victim alleged that he and Bennett were wrestling, Bennett got angry and violent and at one point Bennett produced a semi-automatic handgun, put it to the victim’s head and fired.

According to medical personnel, the bullet glanced off the victim’s skull and lacerated the skin only, requiring staples to repair.

But according to prosecutor Wade Kish, assistant Anoka County Attorney, that trial has been put on hold to await the outcome of the federal weapons possession charge.

While legally Bennett could still be prosecuted in district court, they would have to evaluate if it was worth it because the penalties are much more strict at the federal level, said Kish.

If convicted on the federal weapons possession charge Bennett would be sentenced to at least 15 years in prison – the minimum sentence for anyone who also has at least three prior state or federal convictions for crimes of violence or serious drug crimes.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]

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