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Press Release

Peoria Felon Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Possessing a Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

PEORIA, Ill. – A Peoria, Illinois man, Christopher J. Melahn, 35, of the 1400 block of North Rhodora Avenue, has been sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release for possessing a firearm as a felon. Co-defendant Jamarcus J. Hollingsworth, 30, was sentenced in January 2024 to 57 months’ imprisonment and three years of supervised release on the same charge.

At the sentencing hearing before Senior U.S. District Judge Joe B. McDade, the government

established that in May 2023, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives received information that Hollingsworth, a felon, was in possession of firearms and was offering to sell a pistol in Peoria. The Peoria Area Federal Firearms Task Force conducted an investigation that led to the arrest of Hollingsworth at a hotel on West War Memorial Drive. During the arrest, agents found both Hollingsworth and Melahn, also a felon, in possession of a firearm.

A federal criminal complaint was filed against Melahn and Hollingsworth in May 2023 and an indictment followed in June 2023. Hollingsworth pleaded guilty in September 2023, and Melahn plead guilty in October 2023. Melahn and Hollingsworth have been in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since their arrests in May 2023.

The statutory penalties for possessing a firearm as a felon are up to 15 years’ imprisonment and up to three years of supervised release.

The Peoria Area Federal Firearms Task Force, comprised of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Peoria Police Department; the Peoria County Sheriff’s Department; Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois State Police, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald L. Hanna represented the government in the prosecution.

The case against Melahn is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Updated June 7, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods