News and Press Releases

Four Indicted for Federal Firearm Charges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2012

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today that four individuals were indicted on charges stemming from their participation in “straw purchases” of firearms (transactions designed to conceal the intended user of the firearm). United States Attorney Wigginton stated: “In order to ensure the safety of our citizens, while recognizing the constitutional right of law abiding citizens to legally acquire and possess firearms, my Office will continue to enforce federal laws which explicitly prohibit the falsifying of federal forms in an attempt to arm prohibited persons through “straw purchase” firearm transactions. Prosecuting prohibited persons and those who assist them in illegally obtaining firearms is an important part of the Attorney General’s priority of protecting Americans from violent crimes.”

Trebla D. Rozier, 30, from Collinsville, Illinois, was indicted on three counts of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm. The indictment alleges that Rozier purchased multiple firearms using her valid F.O.I.D. card and asserted that she was the actual buyer of the firearms. It is alleged, that in fact, the firearms were intended for another person.

Brandon D. Thomas, 22, from Centerville, Illinois, was indicted on two counts of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm and one count of illegally taking receipt of a firearm by a person under indictment. The indictment alleges that Thomas made false statements in connection with the purchase of two firearms and additionally came into possession of a firearm while Thomas was under indictment.

Kevin R. Clark Jr., 25, from East St. Louis, Illinois, was indicted on one count of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon and one count of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm. The first count of the indictment alleges that Clark unlawfully possessed a firearm as a previously convicted felon. The second count alleges that Clark made false statements in connection with the purchase of a firearm.

Denise L. Lawson, 24, from Centerville, Illinois, was indicted on a single count of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm. The indictment alleges that Thomas purchased a firearm using her valid F.O.I.D. card and asserted that she was the actual buyer of the firearm. It is alleged, that in fact, the firearm was intended for another person.

The crime of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm is punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and not more than 3 years of Supervised Release. The crime of unlawful possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon is punishable by not more than 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and not more than 3 years of Supervised Release. The crime of unlawful receipt of a firearm by a person under indictment is punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and not more than 3 years of Supervised Release.

The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF, Gun Group, entitled F.I.G.H.T. (Firearms Investigative Group Halting Traffickers), will continue to focus on investigating those individuals, groups or Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL), who are knowingly engaged in the illegal domestic trafficking of guns. This will include those involved in the straw purchasing of firearms for prohibited individuals. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher C. Heery.

An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, that charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in Court.

 

 

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