5400 Federal Plaza, Suite 1500 Hammond, IN 46320
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Mary L. Hatton August 1, 2008 PHONE: (219) 937-5603
Fax: (219) 852-2770
Hammond, IN—The United States Attorney's Office announced the following activity in Federal Court, Hammond, Indiana:
On July 25, 2008, Artis Martin, 36, of Gary, Indiana, was arrested after being charged in a 1 count indictment with being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Martin was stopped by a Lake County Police Officer after being observed not wearing a seatbelt and weaving from lane to lane. The officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car. A .357 Magnum revolver was recovered from Artis. A criminal history for Artis revealed that he was convicted of using a firearm in a drug trafficking crime in North Carolina in 1996, for which he served 5 years. This case is being investigated by the ATF/HIDTA Task Force and will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dean R. Lanter.
On July 28, 2008, Theresa Mendez, 22 , of Gary, Indiana, was arrested following being charged in a one-count indictment with making materially false statements in the purchase of a firearm. The government has alleged that in August 2007 Mendez made materially false statements by stating that she was purchasing a 5.56 x 45 millimeter, semi-automatic rifle for herself, when she was in fact purchasing the firearm for another person. Mendez has been released on bond pending trial. This case is being investigated by the ATF/HIDTA Task Force and will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dean R. Lanter.
The specific sentence in each case to be imposed upon conviction will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The United States Attorney's Office emphasized that an Indictment is merely an allegation and that all persons charged are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
On July 29, 2008, Vincell Jackson, 40, of Chicago, Illinois, was sentenced by Judge Simon to 2 years probation following his felony conviction for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In July 2004, Jackson allowed a fraudulent check to be deposited into his Bank One checking account, after which he proceeded to Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, withdrew $3,300 in cash from his account’s falsely inflated balance. Jackson has been ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $3,329.23 to Chase (formerly Bank One). This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Indiana State Police and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dean R. Lanter
On July 30, 2008, Royal Barron, 27, of Portage, Indiana, was sentenced to 2 years probation following her felony conviction for making materially false statements in the purchase of a firearm. In January and November 2005, Barron unlawfully purchased three semiautomatic pistols by falsely stating that she was purchasing the firearms for herself when she was in fact purchasing the firearms for another individual. Two of the firearms were recovered by the Chicago Police Department from convicted felons, and the third firearm was recovered in Merrillville, Indiana. This case was investigated by the ATF/HIDTA Task Force with the assistance of the Chicago and Merrillville Police Departments and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dean R. Lanter
On July 30, 2008, Tyrone Ford, 47, of Chicago, Illinois, pled guilty before Judge Van Bokkelen to the felony offense of making materially false statements in the purchase of a firearm. In January 2008, Ford made materially false statements in purchasing a nine millimeter, semi-automatic pistol by falsely stating that he was not a convicted felon when in fact he had two prior felony convictions for possessing stolen vehicles. Ford remains on bond pending his October sentencing. This case was investigated by the ATF and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dean R. Lanter
On July 30, 2008, Demond Hardimon, 28, of Park Forest, Illinois, was sentenced to 20 years (240) months in prison. Mr. Hardimon was indicted on April 18, 2007, charging him with a conspiracy to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin. A jury in the Northern District of Indiana found Hardimon guilty as charged on March 11, 2008. In the same case, Keith Moeller, 49, of Steger, Illinois was sentenced by Judge Philip Simon to 72 months in prison. In summary, residents of Porter County regularly traveled to communities such as Chicago Heights or Park Forest, Illinois, in the south Chicago area and purchased bags of heroin. Thereafter, the heroin was transported back to Porter County for resale. This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration - Merrillville Drug Task Force. Participating with the Drug Enforcement Administration, were the Porter County Sheriff’s Office, and the Valparaiso, Indiana Police Department, and the Park Forest, Illinois Police Department regarding the investigation and arrests in the south Chicago area and in northwest Indiana. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Nozick. and Jennifer Chang.