GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — He’s been locked up for armed robbery and drug dealing, but it’s what was found under 18-year-old Michael Kim Le’s mattress that now has the Kentwood man facing a decade in federal prison.
A .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver reported stolen from an Ottawa County gun store was found between the mattress and box springs of his bed.
Le’s criminal record precludes him from owning a firearm, to say nothing of one that was stolen in mid-July.
“When you’re talking about a stolen gun, that’s of most use or value to someone who can’t lawfully possess a firearm,’’ said U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge, whose West Michigan office is prosecuting Le.
Le was booked into the Kent County Jail in September. He was indicted this week on two federal gun charges that carry maximum penalties of 10 years in prison.
He’s charged with felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition as well as possession of a stolen firearm. Le's prior felonies include an unarmed robbery conviction last year.
The handgun found beneath Le's mattress was stolen during a July 14 break-in at Long Range Archery and Firearms in Ottawa County’s Holland Township. Police say they believe four people were involved in the break-in.
The gun was found when police and a parole officer went to Le’s home on Champion Avenue SE for an unannounced compliance check. They wanted to question him about a stolen car complaint in Wyoming several days earlier.
Le ran off. When investigators searched the Kentwood home, they recovered the gun and 11 rounds of ammunition.
Le was booked into the Kent County Jail on Sept. 13. The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office charged him with receiving and concealing a stolen firearm and two lesser offenses.
He’s also charged separately for stealing a 2018 Nissan, which was left running at a gas station at the corner of Burton Street and Clyde Park Avenue SW in Wyoming.
He was on parole at the time for a drug offense and a robbery conviction in Kent County.
The drug case involved cocaine. In the robbery case, police say Le took a cell phone, belt and wallet while armed with a gun. It happened on 43rd Street SE in April of 2018.
Le pleaded guilty to unarmed robbery; the judge recommended a state boot camp program. He was released on parole in late May. Just 3½ months later, Le was back in the Kent County Jail.
Birge, the U.S. attorney for western Michigan, said federal prosecution of gun cases are beneficial because those convicted are sent to prisons several states away.
“My office has the best punishments for getting that person prosecuted and serving their time outside the community, where they can no longer be communicating with their fellow gang-bangers or whomever it might be,’’ he said.
Le’s next federal court appearance is set for Dec. 10 in Grand Rapids.
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