ANSWERING NATURE’S CALL LEADS TO CONVICTION ON FEDERAL FIREARMS CHARGES
After a two day trial, a jury in East St. Louis, Illinois, found Charles C. Christian, 30 of East St. Louis, guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of controlled substances, possession of marihuana, and possession of crack cocaine, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Christian has been in custody since November 17, 2010, following his arrest by the Working Against Violent Elements (WAVE) task force.
The evidence at trial revealed that members of the WAVE task force encountered Christian in Brooklyn, Illinois, during the late evening hours of November 17, 2010. Officers approached Christian, who was on foot and apparently urinating in the weeds. As officers approached, Christian jumped back into his car and led officers in a high speed chase. When officers retraced Christian’s path of flight, they discovered a loaded .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol and a bag of crack cocaine. Christian had marihuana in his pocket and in his vehicle.
United States Attorney Wigginton stated, "My office fully supports the anti-violence mission of the WAVE team and will aggressively prosecute offenders who bring the scourge of gun and drug related violence to our communities."
Sentencing is set for June, 2011. Each of the firearms charges carries a term of imprisonment of up to ten years. Each of the drug charges carries a penalty of up to three years imprisonment.
The WAVE Task Force 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 St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, the East St. Louis Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the United States Marshal Service. 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.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne M. Garrison.