LITTLE ROCK, AR – A Phillips County man has been indicted on a federal weapons charge.
Dentrel Maurice Bragg, 20, of Helena-West Helena, faces a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. The one-count indictment, returned on Wednesday, charges that on Feb. 6, Bragg possessed a loaded Smith & Wesson, model SD40VE, .40 caliber pistol, and a loaded Colt, model Mustang, .380 caliber pistol.
“For more than four years my office, working in partnership with all federal law enforcement agencies, has focused significant attention on the entire Arkansas Delta region,” said Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “While I am committed to continuing that focused attention in the Delta, today’s announcement highlights an additional commitment to support state and local law enforcement efforts to make Phillips County and the entire Arkansas Delta a safer place to live and work. Removing weapons from the streets in Phillips County is a high priority for all law enforcement.”
On Feb. 6, a Helena-West Helena patrol officer initiated a traffic stop on a cream-colored four door Lincoln town car for no vehicle tags. The Lincoln Town Car stopped in a parking lot, and as the officer approached the vehicle, the officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana. The officer asked the driver and sole occupant, Bragg, to step out of the vehicle. While conducting a pat-down of Bragg, another officer found the loaded Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol in Bragg’s pocket. The loaded Colt .380 caliber pistol was located inside the vehicle. The Helena-West Helena Police Department determined that the Colt .380 caliber pistol had been reported stolen from Jonesboro.
Bragg was previously convicted in 2012 of Battery First Degree and Terroristic Act in Phillips County Circuit Court. The offense of Felon in Possession of a Firearm carries the following penalties: Not more than 10 years imprisonment; not more than 3 years supervised release; and up to a $250,000 fine.
Bragg will appear before United States Magistrate Judge Beth Deere for plea and arraignment later this month, at which time a trial date will be set.
The case is being prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” program—a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy.