Peoria Man Convicted of Drug Trafficking, Gun Crimes
PEORIA, Ill. -- Chief U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid has entered the judgment of conviction against a Peoria man, Demontae Bell, 34, for drug trafficking and gun offenses. Following a three-day bench trial last week before Judge Shadid, Bell was convicted on March 9, 2017, on two counts of distribution of cocaine, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, and one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
During trial, the government presented evidence to the court of drug transactions by Bell and Bell’s possession of stolen firearms in late 2014 to early 2015, which were sold in Peoria in exchange for drugs, including two AR-15 rifles, a Glock 17C pistol, and an AK-47 style rifle.
Under federal statute, Bell faces a minimum of five years in federal prison at sentencing. Final sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after completion of the presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office. Judge Shadid scheduled July 13, 2017, for a post-trial motions hearing and possible sentencing. Bell has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since he was arrested on April 9, 2015.
This investigation was led by the FBI and the Safe Streets Task Force, with assistance from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Peoria MEG (Multi-County Narcotics Enforcement Group), and the Pekin Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ron Hanna and Adam Korn are prosecuting the case.