BELLEVILLE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FIREARM OFFENSE
On August 22, 2011, Kevin Johnson, a twenty-six year old Belleville, IL, man pled guilty in Federal District Court, in East St. Louis, to Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Previously Convicted Felon, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced on December 5, 2011, at which time he faces up to 10 years’ in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and not more than 3 years of supervised release after his prison term.
Facts brought out in court showed that on July 28, 2010, while patrolling in the area of 7th Street and St. Louis Avenue in East St. Louis, WAVE agents noticed the driver and the front-seat passenger of a vehicle were not wearing their seat belts. WAVE officers then conducted a traffic stop of this vehicle, that had four occupants. Johnson was in the back seat of the vehicle. Officers noticed that there was an open 12 pack of beer in the vehicle and that Johnson had an open can of beer in his possession. A subsequent consensual search revealed several rounds of ammunition in Johnson’s pocket and a handgun inside the passenger side rear pouch, directly in front of where Johnson was sitting. In an interview, in addition to other facts, Johnson admitted that the recovered firearm belonged to him, that the recovered ammunition belonged to him, and that he was a convicted felon.
The case resulted from the efforts of the WAVE (Working Against Violent Elements) Task Force, which focuses its efforts on combating violent crime in East St. Louis, Washington Park, and surrounding communities. WAVE was formed in November, 2009, and is a collaboration of law enforcement officers from the Illinois State Police, the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois (MEGSI), the East St. Louis Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The WAVE Task Force receives financial support through the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative, a nationwide federal program which endeavors to address gun-related violence.
This case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Daniel T. Kapsak for prosecution.