U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
January 27, 2012
Federal Jury Convicts Career Criminal of Firearms Charges
Providence man facing 15 years to life in federal prison
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Kareem Williams, 36, of Providence, faces a minimum mandatory fifteen years and up to life in federal prison after a U.S. District Court jury in Providence found him guilty Thursday of being a felon in possession of firearms and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Williams, a career criminal, was previously convicted in state court of five felonies, including two for drug trafficking and one for robbery.
Williams’ conviction was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Cranston Police Chief Colonel Marco Palombo, Jr.
According to the government’s evidence presented at trial, shortly after midnight on June 20, 2011, a Cranston police officer responded to the area of Paine Avenue and Friendly Road to investigate a report of suspicious activity. The officer located two occupied vehicles parked one behind the other.
As the officer pulled up behind the vehicles and activated his lights, one of the vehicles sped away and the other began to travel in reverse then forward, striking the officer’s vehicle. The officer exited his vehicle, drew his weapon and ordered the two females in the front seat and the lone male passenger in the rear seat to raise their hands. The female occupants complied. However, the rear passenger, Kareem Williams, at first refused the instructions and made several movements towards the center of the back seat. Williams was again ordered several times by the officer to raise his hands. He complied but not before leaning over to the center of the vehicle one last time.
After more officers arrived the vehicle was cleared of the occupants and searched. Officers seized two loaded firearms, a .38 caliber revolver and .45 caliber pistol with an obliterated serial number, from an area between the rear seat and the trunk area where Mr. Williams was devoting his attention prior to exiting the vehicle.
During an interview with Cranston Police, Williams gave a recorded statement in which he admitted that he went with the two women and four men who escaped in the second vehicle to Cranston to rob a drug dealer. Williams accurately described both weapons.
U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented, “I have said it before and I will say it again: there is no greater threat to our neighborhoods than those who wield guns with impunity. This office, along with our police partners, will continue to aggressively prosecute these cases.
“I want to thank Colonel Palombo and the Cranston Police Department for their ongoing partnership with this office, and congratulate the team of federal prosecutors, Cranston police officers and federal agents whose work will keep this defendant off our streets for a very long time.”
Cranston Police Chief Colonel Marco Palombo, Jr., added, “The Cranston Police are extremely pleased with not only the conviction of Kareem Williams, but with the actions of the alert neighbor who called the police to report suspicious activity which led officers to Mr. Williams, and with the actions of the responding officers who arrested Mr. Williams and removed two firearms from the streets. The citizen calling the police, the responding officers locating and arresting Mr. Williams, and then the prosecution of the case by the U.S. Attorneys’ Office have resulted in removing a dangerous person from our streets for what we hope is a very long time.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ly T. Chin and Terrence P. Donnelly. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose assisted in the prosecution of this matter.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted Cranston Police in the investigation.