East St. Louis Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Gun and Drug Charges
Donald S. Boyce, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that William C. Cosby, 33, of East St. Louis, Illinois, was sentenced today in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois to 15 years in federal prison and six years of supervised release, following convictions for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Evidence presented to the District Court showed that on September 27, 2016, police stopped Cosby’s vehicle because the vehicle did not have a front license plate. An East St. Louis Police officer ran a records check and learned that Cosby’s license was suspended, and Cosby was arrested.
During a search of Cosby following his arrest, two bags containing a total of two grams of crack cocaine were located in Cosby’s jacket pocket. During a search of Cosby’s vehicle, East St. Louis police officers located a .45 caliber pistol loaded with an extended magazine containing fifteen rounds of ammunition and equipped with a laser sight under the driver’s seat. The firearm had previously been reported stolen.
At the sentencing hearing, the Court heard evidence that Cosby had been previously convicted of first degree murder in the Circuit Court of St. Clair County in April of 2013 before being granted a new trial and ultimately acquitted in a subsequent trial in December of 2014. The Court heard evidence that during the second trial, Cosby admitted that he carried a firearm "all the time" despite the fact he was a convicted felon.
The Honorable Nancy J. Rosenstengel noted Cosby’s criminal history, which included prior felony convictions for residential burglary, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm by a felon and stated, "The public needs to see that these crimes are taken seriously" before imposing sentence.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.
The investigation was conducted by the East St. Louis Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, with assistance from the Illinois State Police. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Laura Reppert.