Village of Alorton Street Superintendent Indicted
The Superintendent of the Street Department for the Village of Alorton was indicted on January 19, 2012, for being a felon in possession of firearm ammunition and for making false statements to federal law enforcement officers, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Ronnie D. Cummings, 38, was indicted as part of an ongoing probe into the municipality.
On January 20, 2012, an arrest warrant was issued for Ronnie D. Cummings and the FBI has been unsuccessful in effectuating the arrest. At this point, Cummings is considered a fugitive. Anyone with information as to Cummings’ whereabouts is urged to contact law enforcement. The FBI can be reached 24 hours a day at (217) 522-9675.
The indictment alleges that a Village of Alorton police officer who was assisting an ongoing federal public corruption investigation in an undercover capacity learned that Cummings carried a firearm in his city vehicle, despite a 2001 felony conviction for distribution of a controlled substance. On several occasions during the course of the investigation, Cummings indicated to the undercover officer that he had a gun.
The indictment alleges that in the fall of 2011, Cummings told the undercover officer that he wanted to obtain an extra “clip” for his gun. A “clip” is a common reference to the magazine that holds ammunition inside of a semi-automatic handgun. It is further alleged that during a monitored conversation that Cummings stated that he intended to fire his gun through a bag that would catch the spent shell casings.
It is alleged that on January 4, 2012, the undercover officer drove to one of Cummings’ addresses in Alorton for the purpose of discussing obtaining an extra firearm magazine for Cummings. The officer told Cummings that he needed to know the model number of his gun to ensure that he obtained a proper magazine that would fit into his gun. In response, Cummings handed the officer a 9mm magazine loaded with live 9mm ammunition. To further clarify which particular model of gun he owned, the officer asked Cummings to provide him with the model number of his gun. Cummings reached into a closet and retrieved a semi-automatic handgun. Cummings examined the firearm and told the officer that it was a Smith and Wesson model 9VE. Cummings maintained control over the firearm, but the officer left the residence with the magazine loaded with 9 mm ammunition. The undercover officer went directly to the FBI office in Fairview Heights, Illinois, where he turned the magazine and ammunition over to federal authorities. The entire event was secretly recorded.
The Indictment further alleges that Ronnie Cummings was questioned by an FBI Special Agent on January 5, 2012. During that interview, it is alleged that Cummings falsely stated that he had never possessed any firearms or firearms ammunition after becoming a convicted felon, when in truth and in fact Cummings possessed a magazine containing fourteen 9 mm cartridges for a Smith & Wesson, 9 millimeter firearm.
The crime of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm or Firearm Ammunition is punishable by not more than 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and 3 years’ Supervised Release. The crime of making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer is punishable by up to 5 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and not more than 3 years’ supervised release upon release from prison. However, the United States Sentencing Guidelines must be applied to the case and considered by the Court during sentencing.
The investigation was conducted through the Metro East Public Corruption Task Force by agents from the Internal Revenue Service, the Illinois State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Steven D. Weinhoeft and Norman R. Smith.
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.