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Charles City man arrested on federal drugs and firearms charges

By Bob Steenson,

A Charles City man has been charged with federal firearms and drug charges, including possessing what authorities say was a handgun with no serial number that had been modified for automatic fire.

The federal case came from a Chickasaw County traffic stop in June last year where Jamal Brandon Smith, age 21, of Charles City was charged with unauthorized possession of an offensive weapon, a Class D felony; possession with intent to deliver marijuana, a Class D felony; failure to affix a drug stamp, a Class D felony; carrying weapons while in possession of a controlled substance, a serious misdemeanor; and possession of Psilocybin mushrooms, a serious misdemeanor.

Charles City man arrested on federal drugs and firearms charges
Jamal Brandon Smith

According to documents filed by a Chickasaw County deputy, on a traffic stop the deputy noticed the smell of marijuana coming from Smith’s car. A search of the vehicle allegedly discovered a loaded handgun, a black bag containing marijuana, one mushroom believed to be a Psilocybin hallucinogenic mushroom, clear plastic baggies and a scale.

Smith was at that time on probation and prohibited from possessing a firearm, the report said.

The firearm appeared to have been modified, and a New Hampton police officer said it appeared to have been modified for fully automatic operation.

In a plea agreement with the Chickasaw County Attorney’s Office, Smith pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver, and was sentenced in January to up to five years in prison, with the prison term suspended; and placed on two years probation.

The other four state charges were dismissed.

Last week a federal grand jury issued an indictment against Smith, charging him with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, marijuana; possession of a firearm during and in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and possession of a machine gun – a Polymer 80 Inc., PF940C, 9x19mm caliber pistol, bearing no serial number, with a conversion device and magazine.

A federal arrest warrant was issued on Wednesday, March 22, and Smith was arrested in Charles City last Friday. He was arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids and was ordered detained until a detention hearing scheduled for today (Friday).

A trial has tentatively been scheduled for sometime in May.

A Polymer 80 Inc. pistol is what is sometimes referred to as part of a “ghost gun.” Polymer 80 refers to a plastic polymer lower part of a handgun that is 80% finished. It can be fitted with a frame parts kit, trigger, slide, slide parts and barrel to complete the handgun.

Neither the upper parts kit nor the lower parts kit is considered a firearm individually, but they legally become a firearm when the lower parts kit is machined with simple tools and all the parts are put together.

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