East St. Louis Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Possessing a Firearm
On November 21, 2011, Eric Hardy, a forty-nine year old East St. Louis man pled guilty in Federal District Court in East St. Louis to the felony charge of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Sentencing is set for March 9, 2012, at which time Hardy will face penalties up to 10 years’ imprisonment; a fine of up to $250,000, up to 3 years’ supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.
The facts surrounding this charge, as revealed in open court, were that on June 15, 2011, Hardy was discovered in possession of a .32 caliber firearm by officers of a WAVE (Working Against Violent Elements) task force. 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 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.
Prior to June 15, 2011, Hardy had been convicted of a crime that was punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than one year, making it illegal for him to own or possess any firearms.
The investigation which resulted in Hardy’s conviction was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Illinois State Police. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel T. Kapsak.