East St. Louis Man Pleads Guilty to Firearm Offense
On February 4, 2013, Akai J. Aikens, a twenty-nine year old East St. Louis, Illinois, man pled guilty in Federal District Court, in East St. Louis, to 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. Aikens is scheduled for sentencing on May 10, 2013, at which at which time he faces a maximum potential sentence of 10 years’ in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, not more than 3 years’ of supervised release after his prison term, and a mandatory special assessment of $100. Aikens also agreed to the forfeiture of the firearm.
Court proceedings revealed that on October 5, 2012, a law enforcement officer on patrol in East St. Louis, IL, observed a vehicle traveling through the city with large objects hanging from the rearview mirror obstructing the driver’s view. The officer activated emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop. The vehicle abruptly turned into a parking lot at a bar and car wash with the seat passenger exiting the vehicle, running behind the building. The officer yelled out for the passenger to come back or the police dog would be sent. Aikens emerged and was asked if he hid a gun behind the building. He denied doing so. On instinct, the officer released the patrol dog to conduct an “article search” around the car wash. Moments later the dog assumed a “down position” near a firearm lying in the grass behind the car wash. Prior to October 5, 2012, Aikens had been convicted of a crime that was punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than one year.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Illinois State Police.
This case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Daniel T. Kapsak for prosecution.