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Convicted Felon Arrested On Federal Charges For Having Submachine Gun And Ammunition In His Car

Cobray M 12 with silencer and magazines

CHRISTIANSTED – A 34-year-old St. Croix man was arrested on federal illegal gun charges Wednesday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Curtis Winston Venner on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of a firearm by convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, unauthorized possession of a firearm, and unauthorized possession of ammunition, U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe said.

Venner made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge George Cannon in District Court and was ordered detained pending a hearing scheduled for November 23 at 9 a.m.

According to the complaint, Venner was the driver and sole occupant of a vehicle that was stopped on Rattan Road on July 12, 2015. Inside the vehicle, next to Venner on the floor of the front passenger seat, law enforcement found a bag containing a Cobray, model M 12, .380 caliber handgun and a magazine containing 17 bullets.

If convicted of possessing a firearm and/or ammunition by a convicted felon, Venner faces a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000.00 fine for each count.

If convicted of unauthorized possession of a firearm, Venner faces a mandatory minimum sentence of one year imprisonment and a maximum of five years.

If convicted of unauthorized possession of ammunition, Venner faces a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment.

The complaint is the result of investigative work conducted by the Virgin Islands Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rami Badawy.

Sharpe said the complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.

“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty,” he said.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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