BELLEVILLE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO THE UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF A FIREARM BY AN UNLAWFUL USER OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
A Belleville man pled guilty on May 10, 2011, to a two-count Indictment charging, in both counts, the unlawful possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Jai Anderson, 29, Belleville, Ill.-, faces a term of imprisonment of not more than ten (10) years’, a $250,000 fine, or both, and a term of supervised release of not more than three years on each count. The five guns that Anderson illegally possessed will also be forfeited as a result of his conviction. Sentencing is scheduled for August 22, 2011, in East St. Louis, Illinois.Text of the press release can be pasted over the following paragraphs.
"Keeping guns out of the hands of prohibited persons is one of my highest priorities, and, I will use all lawful means to do so. A prior felony conviction is not the only way that I can prosecute persons who are prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms." said United States Attorney Wigginton.
The first violation occurred on November 20, 2008, when Belleville Police Officers went to Anderson’s residence as part of their investigation into another individual. While at the residence, Anderson gave the officers permission to search his home. The officers recovered three firearms from the residence, as well as items with cocaine residue on them. In a voluntary statement, Anderson admitted possession of the guns, stating that he had them for protection. Anderson also admitted unlawfully using cocaine and Vicodin that had not been prescribed to him, both of which are controlled substances, and said that there would be several items in his house with cocaine residue on them. Because Anderson is an unlawful user of controlled substances, federal law prohibits him from possessing a firearm.
The second violation occurred on November 25, 2009, when members of a WAVE detail went to the defendant’s residence after receiving a tip that someone was selling drugs from the home. Anderson was arrested on an outstanding warrant. The officers asked Anderson if he had any guns in the house, and he replied that he had two. Officers accompanied Anderson to his bedroom so that he could get dressed before being taken to the police station. While in the bedroom, officers noticed the smell of fresh cannabis. Anderson subsequently consented to a search of his house. The officers recovered two firearms, as well as powder cocaine and marihuana in the Anderson’s bedroom closet. In a voluntary, videotaped statement, Anderson admitted possession of the two guns, stating that he got them from his mother’s house after the other guns were seized, and that he had them for protection. Finally, Anderson again admitted unlawfully using marihuana, powder cocaine and Vicodin that was not prescribed to him, all of which are controlled substances.
The case was investigated by the Belleville Police Department. The case also 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 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 Marshals 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 is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.