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Published: 7/10/2013 - Updated: 9 months ago

Toledo man pleads guilty to weapons charges

B.G. shop was targeted in counterfeit goods sting

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Schmidt Schmidt
AP Enlarge

Nearly seven months after his sports memorabilia store in Bowling Green was raided for counterfeit merchandise, a Toledo man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to possessing counterfeit goods and weapons.

Richard Schmidt, 47, of 1705 Marlow Rd. was then found guilty by U.S. District Court Judge Jack Zouhary of two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and one count each of being a felon in possession of body armor and trafficking in counterfeit goods.

He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 31.

Schmidt, who has a 1990 conviction for voluntary manslaughter, was arrested in December after FBI agents raided his West Toledo home and his business, Spindletop Sports Zone at the Woodland Mall in Bowling Green.

Duncan Brown, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the court that investigators seized four firearms and 300 rounds of ammunition after executing search warrants Dec. 21 at his home and business. Fourteen other guns, more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition, and body armor were seized Dec. 28, he said.

Also taken from the store and storage trailers at the Woodland Mall was merchandise — mostly clothing and hats — emblazoned with counterfeit logos for brands including the National Football League, Nike, Reebok, and Louis Vuitton, Mr. Brown said.

Schmidt, who did not dispute any of the allegations, grinned broadly at Judge Zouhary when the judge explained to him the potential consequences of his guilty pleas.

“By pleading guilty you may be deprived of valuable civil rights, such as the right to possess any kind of firearm,” Judge Zouhary said. “Are you willing to give up such rights?”

“Yes, your honor,” Schmidt replied.

In answer to the court’s questions, Schmidt said he graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1983, took four years of college courses from various colleges and universities but did not earn a degree, served in the U.S. Army from 1985 to 1989, and spent 13 years in prison after his conviction in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for voluntary manslaughter.

That conviction stemmed from an Aug. 21, 1989, shooting in which Schmidt, then 24, drew a pistol in a street fight with three men after a traffic dispute in South Toledo.

He shot and killed Anthony Torres, 20, and wounded two others.

Although the issue was not raised at Tuesday’s plea hearing, federal investigators have said they found evidence Schmidt has neo-Nazi sympathies, including a notebook seized from his home that included information about the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and the NAACP’s Detroit branch.

Attorney Edward Bryan, a federal public defender, told the court Schmidt was entering “a conditional guilty plea” because he intends to appeal the court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained through the search warrants executed in December.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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