Nine Arrested, Charged with Federal Gun Crimes in Springfield
Recommitment to Project Safe Neighborhoods
SPRINGFIELD, IL (STL.News) Within the past six weeks, nine men have been arrested and charged in federal court with illegal possession of guns in Springfield, Ill., as part of an ongoing cooperative effort to reduce violent crime. As the Department of Justice renews its commitment to the tenets of Project Safe Neighborhoods, as announced last month by Attorney General Merrick Garland, a fundamental principle of this effort to reduce violent crime and build strong, safe communities is comprehensive enforcement that targets public safety priorities in communities.
“Based on research and experience over the past two decades, Project Safe Neighborhoods is an effective initiative to bring together law enforcement at all levels as well as community leaders and partners to address violent crime,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Doug Quivey. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution to gun violence; each community has its unique challenges. But we know that when we pool our resources and pull together, we can make a difference. We are committed to working together to take illegal guns out of the hands of those who are prohibited from having them.”
Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright said, “The fight against gun violence continues to be a top priority for collaboration with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners. We are each more effective working together with leaders across our community to reduce violent crime and address the root causes of criminal conduct.”
Investigative agencies participating in this effort include the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Springfield Police Department; Illinois State Police; and, the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office.
“I commend the efforts of the law enforcement personnel and prosecutors involved in these important investigations and prosecutions,” remarked ATF Special Agent in Charge Kristen de Tineo of the Chicago Field Division. “Partnerships like these, along with focused resources on crime gun intelligence will keep communities safer by ensuring firearms are not in the hands of those prohibited from possessing them.”
The indictments allege the following for each defendant charged:
Eric Allison, 26, of the 2200 block of E. Laurel St., Springfield, Ill., charged with 1) possession of a firearm and 2) possession of ammunition, by a prohibited person, a felon, on Jan. 5, 2021;
Jeremy Banks, 30, of the 1700 block of Matheny Ave., charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, on April 8, 2021;
Donovan Hoover, 26, of the 600 block of Wood St., possession of a firearm by a felon on April 4, 2021;
Deonte M. Pinnick, 34, of the 1000 block of 16th St., possession of a firearm by a felon on Feb. 9, 2020;
Latayveon Wells, 22, of the 200 block of N. State St., possession of a firearm by a felon, on Dec. 17, 2020;
Anthony M. Davis, 30, of Mesquite, Texas, possession of a firearm by a felon, on Feb. 3, 2021;
Kai R. Estomo-Encallado, 21, of Grayson, Texas, possession of a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, that was not registered to him, on Feb. 25, 2021;
Jeremy Mitchell, 32, of the 2700 block of S. MacArthur Blvd., on April 7, 2021, 1) possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine; 2) possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl; 3) possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking; and, 4) felon in possession of a firearm; and,
Demetrius M. Robertson, 29, of the 2300 block of S. 8th St., on Feb. 25, 2021, alleged 1) felon in possession of a firearm; 2) possession with intent to distribute marijuana; and, 3) possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking; 4) possession with intent to distribute marijuana on Jan. 8, 2021; and, 5) possession of a firearm by a felon on June 27, 2020.
Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow said, “The Springfield Police Department has worked diligently, collaborating with Federal agencies, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to ensure that those responsible for gun crimes are held accountable. Project Safe Neighborhoods, as well as cooperation with other local, state and county law enforcement and prosecutors acts as a force multiplier within our community, providing the residents of Springfield the utmost safety and peace of mind.”
“The escalation in the number of gun violence cases as well as the random locations is concerning to all of the law enforcement community,” said Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell. “The Sheriff’s Office will continue to work with all our partners to identify the offenders and bring them to justice. But we need help from our citizens. Anything you see and anything you know about these crimes needs to be reported.”
The defendants have been ordered to remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending their respective trial dates.
If convicted, the maximum statutory penalty for the gun offenses charged, including felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, and possession of an unregistered shotgun with a barrel less than 18” is up to 10 years in prison. The two defendants charged with additional drug trafficking offenses face penalties of 10 years to life for crack cocaine and fentanyl, and up to five years in prison for marijuana, if convicted. For possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, the penalty is at least five years and up to life in prison to be served consecutive to the sentence imposed for the underlying drug offense.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sierra Senor-Moore, Sarah Seberger, and Matthew Z. Weir represent the government in the federal case prosecutions.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The Department of Justice’s recent renewed commitment to Project Safe Neighborhoods establishes four fundamental principles to guide efforts to reduce violent crime: 1) build trust and legitimacy within communities; 2) invest in community-based prevention and intervention programs; 3) target enforcement and priorities to focus resources on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting the most significant drivers of gun violence and other violent crime; and, 4) measure results with the goal to reduce the level of violence in our communities and not to increase the number of arrests and prosecutions as if they were ends in themselves.