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Press Release

Altamont Man Accused of Unlawful Gun Possession and Manufacturing

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois
Lauren Barry, Public Affairs Officer

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – An Effingham County man is facing criminal charges in southern Illinois for illegally possessing firearms even though he’s prohibited under federal law.

James R. Kraus, II, 42, is facing one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, one count of illegal possession of a machine gun, two counts of possession of an unregistered firearm and one count of illegal importation of a firearm.

"Individuals with domestic violence and other abusive convictions cannot lawfully possess firearms due to the increased safety risks to our communities, and offenders will be held accountable," said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe.

According to the charging document, Kraus is accused of possessing the firearms in November 2023. Due to a prior domestic violence conviction, Kraus is unable to legally possess firearms. The Government alleges that Kraus illegally possessed dozens of firearms including an automatic weapon, multiple short-barreled rifles and silencers.

“Individuals convicted of Domestic violence cannot possess firearms and will face serious consequences for manufacturing, possessing, or importing these firearms.  Privately Made Firearms (PMFs) are commonly referred to as ghost guns and can be difficult to trace. Manufacturing devices to convert firearms to automatic weapons is a tremendous threat to our communities,” stated Kansas City Field Division, Special Agent in Charge, Bernard Hansen.  “Identifying and prosecuting persons unlawfully converting and possessing machine guns, as well as unregistered silencers, is a focus of the ATF and persons will face serious consequences for possessing them.”

As outlined in the indictment, the Government is seeking forfeiture of Kraus’ nine commercially manufactured firearms, seven silencers and thousands of rounds of ammunition. In addition, Kraus is accused of manufacturing unregistered ghost guns with a 3D-printer and if convicted must forfeit 11 privately made firearms including four pistols and seven rifles.

“ISP is committed to ensuring those who are prohibited from possessing a firearm don't have guns illegally and we will continue to work with our federal partners to protect the public and combat gun trafficking,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly.

The Government is also seeking forfeiture of Kraus’ computer, 3D-printer and other firearm manufacturing tools.

An indictment is merely a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.

If convicted, Kraus could face up to 15 years’ imprisonment and/or fines up to $250,000.

ATF is leading the investigation with assistance from ISP, HSI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Trippi is prosecuting the case.

Updated February 23, 2024