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Steele man is sentenced

Thursday, December 6, 2007

CAPE GIRARDEAU -- A Steele man was sentenced to almost eight years in prison for unlawful possession of firearms.

James P. Dalton, 40, was sentenced to 94 months in prison on one felony count of being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm in a court appearance Monday in U.S. District Court before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey.

On Feb. 22, 2007, state law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Dalton's Pemiscot County residence.

Officers discovered three firearms under the bed: a Norinco 7.62 caliber rife, a Bushmaster .223 caliber rifle and a DPMS .223 caliber rifle.

The Bushmaster and the DPMS rifles were examined by firearms experts who determined that the Bushmaster rifle had been modified from its original, semi-

automatic assembly into a fully automatic firearm. The DPMS rifle was discovered with some component parts that, when installed, enabled it to function as a fully automatic rifle as well.

Two magazines for these rifles were also found in the bedroom. One magazine was marked as a Colt .223 caliber magazine. The other magazine was marked as a DSL brand magazine. Both would fit the Bushmaster and the DPMS rifle. The Colt magazine had a capacity of 20 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition when it was fully loaded.

Officers also found a small quantity of methamphetamine in the bedroom as well as a locked safe containing a blasting cap. Dalton provided the combination for the safe so the officers could open it. In another safe found in the bedroom, the officers found a type of an explosive known as an emulsion which is designed to be used with underwater applications.