Charleston Man Dakota Santonia Pleads Guilty to Federal Gun Crime

(STL.News) – A Charleston man has pled guilty to a gun crime, according to United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Dakota Santonia, 24, pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Santonia admitted that on January 20, 2019, he knowingly possessed a stolen Smith and Wesson Model 60-7 .38 special revolver and ammunition in Charleston, when he knew he had been previously convicted of first degree robbery and therefore was not allowed to possess that firearm or ammunition.

Santonia faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced on October 21, 2020.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Charleston Police Department conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Irene C. Burger presided over the hearing.  Assistant United States Attorney Negar M. Kordestani is handling the prosecution.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

These case also was part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.  Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.  The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted these cases with support from the Project Guardian partners noted above.