Career criminal gets more than 17 years for illegal firearms possession

A career criminal and Florida man was sentenced Tuesday to over 17 years in prison for illegally possessing a firearm while being a felon.

According to a Justice Department news release, 31-year-old Jamal Smith, of St. Petersburg, was also ordered to give up a firearm related to the offense. Smith pleaded guilty to the charges in February.

On Sep. 1, 2015, a police officer pulled over Smith’s vehicle for a traffic violation. Smith first tried to flee in his vehicle, but then stopped and ran from the officer.

During the chase, Smith circled back around to the vehicle and tried to grab something on the passenger side. Officers captured and arrested Smith, and then found a .45 caliber pistol in the glove box of Smith’s vehicle.

Smith was a convicted felon at the time of the offense and was prohibited from possessing a firearm. Because of his previous felony convictions, related to violent offenses and drug charges, Smith received an increased penalty as an armed career criminal under that statute.

The St. Petersburg Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case.