TWO COWLITZ COUNTY MEN INDICTED FOR BEING ARMED CAREER CRIMINALS
ROBERT EARNEST WILSON, 38, and BRADFORD LANORIS JONES, 39, both of Longview, Washington, were indicted by a federal grand jury last month for being felons in possession of firearms and armed career criminals. Both men are alleged to have lengthy criminal records and, if convicted of these federal charges, face significant federal prison time. If convicted as Armed Career Criminals, both men face mandatory minimum prison sentences of 15 years behind bars.
WILSON's indictment alleges that he has felony convictions for theft (1987), attempted burglary (1992), felon in possession of a firearm (1990), residential burglary and trafficking in stolen property (1990), burglary (1992), possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of a handgun (1995), and possession of methamphetamine (2002). According to JONES's indictment, he has multiple drug convictions: delivery of cocaine (1991), possession of cocaine (1996), delivery of heroin and eluding police (1999), possession of heroin and/or methamphetamine (2003), and possession of cocaine (2003).
During a search of WILSON's residence as part of a drug investigation, a Colt .38 caliber revolver was found in his bedroom. As a convicted felon WILSON is barred from possessing a gun. He was arrested October 27, 2004. On November 3, 2004, Longview Police searched JONES's residence as part of a drug investigation. A Smith and Wesson, model 10-5, .38 caliber revolver was found under the bed in the room rented to JONES. In fact, at the time of his arrest JONES was sitting directly above the firearm. Officers also found cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, drug paraphernalia and $5,000 in the residence.
The two men were identified for federal prosecution as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a federal initiative aimed at reducing gun violence by keeping guns out of the hands of felons. In Western Washington, federal dollars pay for additional prosecutors in Pierce, Kitsap, King and Cowlitz Counties to identify those cases that are appropriate for federal prosecution. According to Longview Police Department spokesman Captain Stan Munger, these two cases are representative of the ongoing joint effort of local and federal authorities to identify and prosecute federal cases involving allegations of possession of illegal firearms by convicted felons. Not only does federal prosecution often result in longer prison terms, a federal sentence often removes felons from their home area so they are no longer able to interact with familiar criminal cohorts. In Richmond, Virginia, during a pilot program of Project Safe Neighborhoods, the number of gun homicides dropped by nearly 50% between 1997 and 2000.
Both JONES and WILSON pleaded "Not Guilty" to the charges. JONES' trial is scheduled for March 28, 2005 in front of U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton. WILSON'S trial is also scheduled for March 28, 2005 in front of U.S. District Court Judge Franklin D. Burgess. An indictment contains allegations that have not yet been proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt.
The cases were investigated by the Longview Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William H. Redkey. Jr. For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington at (206) 553-4110.