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Press Release

Jackson Gang Member Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison for Possession of Firearm Linked to Multiple Shootings

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

DETROIT – A violent gang member and three-time convicted felon from Jackson, Michigan was sentenced to 57 months in prison today for being a felon in possession of a firearm, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Craig Kailimai, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Jackson County Sheriff Gary Schuette.

United States District Court Judge Laurie J. Michelson sentenced Maurice Charvake Knighten, 24, of Jackson, Michigan, following his guilty plea to felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court records, Knighten was arrested on November 18, 2021 by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office after the firearm was found during a traffic stop.  The ATF then tested the firearm and ballistically linked the firearm to four prior shooting incidents. Three of the shooting incidents were in Jackson.

“The gun seized in this investigation will no longer be used to terrorize this community.  My office is committed to removing violent offenders using guns from the streets.” said U.S. Attorney Ison.

“Knighten is a known member of a violent and vicious criminal gang.  Today’s sentencing is an important component to the reduction in violent firearms related crimes,” said, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai, “We are proud of the collaborative efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s office, along with our federal, state, and local partners in getting violent repeat offenders off our streets.”

“Jackson County is a safer place today! That’s because admitted gang member, and multi-convicted felon, Maurice Knighten has been sentenced to federal prison,” said Sheriff Schuette.  “On November 18, 2021, Deputy Codi Barlond arrested Knighten in possession of a handgun. Ballistics have shown the handgun to be linked to three shootings in Jackson and one shooting in Lansing. All of these shootings were cowardice “drive-by” style shootings, typical of gang members, which threaten lives and spread fear throughout the community. Through an excellent police investigation, and assistance from the United States Attorney’s Office, Knighten’s reign of cowardice intimidation has come to a close.  I deeply appreciate the partnership the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has with the United States Attorney’s Office in bringing this violent criminal to justice.”

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

This case was investigated by special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police, the City of Jackson Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew R. Picek and Matthew Roth. 

Updated December 14, 2022

Firearms Offenses