EAST ST. LOUIS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FIREARM OFFENSES
An East St. Louis man pled guilty on May 25, 2011, to a two-count Indictment charging, in Count 1, the unlawful possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance, and, in Count 2, possession of an unregistered firearm, namely a sawed-off shotgun, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.
Louis Johnson, 70, East St. Louis, Ill.-, faces a term of imprisonment of not more than ten (10) years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both, and a term of supervised release of not more than three (3) years on each count. A total of four guns that Johnson illegally possessed will be forfeited as a result of his conviction. Sentencing is scheduled for September 2, 2011, in East St. Louis, Illinois.
The violations occurred on March 5, 2010, when members of a WAVE Detail asked Johnson for consent to search his home after receiving an anonymous tip that the resident might be selling drugs from the home. Johnson voluntarily consented to a search. During the search, officers recovered a stolen handgun, two rifles, and a sawed-off shotgun. Officers also recovered marihuana, 10 Oxycontin pills, and assorted drug paraphernalia from the residence. In a voluntary, videotaped statement, the Johnson admitted possession of all of the recovered firearms and he admitted being a habitual user of crack cocaine and marihuana while the officers were collecting his personal history.
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 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.