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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

Monday, April 22, 2013

Possession Of Assault Rifle Nets East St. Louis Man A Prison Sentence Of Eight Years

Willie Springer, 36, of East St. Louis, Illinois, was sentenced to 8 years in prison on Friday, April 19, 2013, by the United States District Court, for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Previously Convicted Felon, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Springer was also ordered to pay a $100 special assessment, a $375 fine and to serve a term of 3 years of supervised release following imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system. Springer has been in custody since his arrest on July 16, 2012.

“I believe that everyone is fed up with people who illegally possess firearms.” said United States Attorney Wigginton. “I am gratified that the Court, by its sentence, sends a very clear message – Do not illegally possess weapons on our streets.”

Court documents establish that on July 16, 2012 at 12:30 a.m., an Illinois State Trooper initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle with no front or rear registration plates. As the vehicle came to a stop, the passenger, later identified as Willie Springer, jumped out of the vehicle holding a black SKS assault rifle. Springer then fled from the Trooper into the courtyard of an occupied apartment complex. Springer ignored repeated commands to stop and drop the firearm, at which time the Trooper gave the command for his K9 officer to apprehend Springer. The firearm was determined to be a Norinco SKS M semi-automatic rifle, 7.62 x 39 mm caliber. During a search of the suspect’s vehicle, Illinois State Police officers recovered a 50-round American Tactical magazine that fit the SKS rifle, a black hooded zombie-style Halloween mask, a white Jason-style Halloween mask, and open alcohol.

The investigation was conducted by the WAVE Task Force. The WAVE Task Force focuses its efforts on combating violent crime in East St. Louis, Washington Park, and surrounding communities.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ali Summers.

Updated February 19, 2015