EAST ST. LOUIS MAN FACES FIFTEEN YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON
An East St. Louis man was sentenced in federal court on September 14, 2011, for the 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. Robert Brooks, Jr., 49, East St. Louis, IL, was sentenced to 180 months’ imprisonment, 3 years’ supervised release, fined $300 and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment. Brooks received an enhanced sentence because the Court determined that he was an Armed Career Criminal based on prior convictions for burglary, armed robbery, and possession of weapon in connection with possession of marihuana with the intent to sell or deliver. As an Armed Career Criminal, Brooks faced a sentence of 15 years to life. The Court also ordered the forfeiture of the gun Brooks illegally possessed. Brooks has been held in custody since his arraignment on February 23, 2011.
“Persons convicted of felonies are prohibited from possessing firearms. When a person is convicted again and again and again of a felony offense, but persists in possessing firearms, he is going to face a steep sentence, as Mr. Brooks has learned.” said United States Attorney Wigginton.
The violation occurred on October 4, 2010, when a member of a WAVE detail noticed that Brooks turned and began quickly walking away when he saw the officers. The officers were conducting a traffic stop in East St. Louis at the time. The officer walked in the direction that Brooks did in order to get a better view. The officer saw Brooks walking with another male. The officer saw Brooks place what was later determined to be a gun next to a chain link fence in East St. Louis. The other male was also spotted hiding a gun next to the chain link fence, but in a different location (this individual was also prosecuted federally and sentenced to 84 months’ imprisonment).
“Getting illegally possessed guns off of the streets is one of my highest priorities. The WAVE Team, on this one night, removed two very dangerous persons - felons with guns - from our streets. For that, they are owed our thanks and our praise.” noted United States Attorney Wigginton.
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 was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.