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Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Driving with Loaded Pistol in Minnetonka

Michael Dennis Stanke will serve 180 months in prison on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

On Monday in federal court, a 45-year-old career criminal was sentenced for possessing a nine-millimeter pistol.

United States District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen sentenced Michael Dennis Stanke, of Lino Lakes, to 180 months (15 years) in prison on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Stanke was indicted on June 11, 2012, and pleaded guilty on Aug. 9, 2012. 

In his plea agreement, Stanke admitted that on March 8, 2012, while visiting his mother at her residence, he took a nine-millimeter Norinco pistol from the house. He then stole a neighbor’s vehicle from a nearby driveway.

A few hours later, Minnetonka police stopped the stolen car Stanke was driving and arrested him. The officers found the loaded firearm lying on the front passenger seat, loaded with seven rounds in the magazine. 

Stanke was taken into custody at a gas station at 17516 Highway 7. Police believed Stanke was drunk with bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and had apparently urinated in his pants. He blew a preliminary breath test of .219

Because he is a felon, Stanke was prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm at any time. His prior Ramsey County convictions include third-degree burglary (1989), theft (1989), fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle (1991), theft of a motor vehicle (1993), first-degree assault (2000), and first-degree aggravated robbery (2000). In addition, Stanke was convicted in Hennepin County for theft in 1996 and Dakota County for theft of a motor vehicle in 1997. 

Since at least three of those offenses constituted crimes of violence, Stanke’s sentence in the current federal case was subject to the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. That act mandates a minimum of 15 years in federal prison. Because the federal criminal justice system does not have parole, Stanke will spend virtually his entire sentence behind bars. 

This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Minnetonka Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen A. Slaughter. 

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