COWLITZ COUNTY MAN CONVICTED OF BEING ARMED CAREER CRIMINAL
ROBERT EARNEST WILSON, 39, of Longview, Washington, was convicted by a federal jury in Tacoma Tuesday of Counterfeiting, being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Armed Career Criminal. WILSON has a lengthy criminal record. As an Armed Career Criminal, WILSON faces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 15 years behind bars. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 16, 2005, at 9:00 AM before the Honorable Robert J. Bryan.
WILSON has felony convictions for theft in the first degree (1987), attempted burglary in the second degree (1992), felon in possession of a firearm (1990), residential burglary and trafficking in stolen property (1990), burglary in the first degree (1992), possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of a handgun (1995), and possession of methamphetamine and forgery (2002).
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.
WILSON was 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, this case is representative of the ongoing joint effort of local and federal authorities to identify and prosecute federal cases involving allegations of illegal firearms possession 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.
The cases were investigated by the Longview Police Department, the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office, the United States Secret Service, 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.