Rockford Man Sentenced To 10 Years 3 Months In Federal Prison For Drug Trafficking And Firearm Related Charges
ROCKFORD — A Rockford, Ill. man was sentenced today in federal court by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala to possessing with the intent to distribute crack cocaine, to illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, and to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. ERIC LAMONT KELLY, 29, was sentenced to a total of 10 years and 3 months in federal prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. Kelly pled guilty on September 5, 2013, admitting that on April 6, 2012, he had possessed 18.4 grams of crack cocaine, with the intent to distribute it, along with a 9 mm pistol after having previously been convicted of a felony. He also admitted that he possessed the pistol in furtherance of his drug trafficking crime.
In his plea agreement, Kelly admitted that on April 6, 2012, when police officers attempted to execute a search warrant at Kelly’s house in Rockford, he tried to hide the crack cocaine and firearm by throwing the items down a heating duct. Police officers recovered the crack cocaine and firearm, along with digital scales, drug packaging materials, and the proceeds from the sale of drugs.
The defendant was originally charged in state court and was transferred to federal court where he was charged under tough federal firearms laws as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Project Safe Neighborhoods is an intensive, cooperative effort between local, state, and federal law enforcement to attack gun crimes. The cornerstone of the program is that every defendant committing an offense involving a gun will be reviewed for possible federal prosecution in order to obtain the harshest penalties for the worst offenders. Additional information about Project Safe Neighborhoods may be found at: www.psn.gov.
The sentencing was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Constance Hester, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Joseph Bruscato, Winnebago County State’s Attorney; and Chet Epperson, Chief of the Rockford Police Department.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney John G. McKenzie.