Criminal Justice News

Monday, October 15, 2012

East St. Louis Man Sentenced For Firearms Offenses

An East St. Louis man, Harry Truman Steward, a.k.a. “Harry O,” 26, was today sentenced in United States District Court, East St. Louis, for Conspiracy to Make a False Statement During the Purchase of a Firearm, Aiding and Abetting a False Statement During the Purchase of a Firearm (2 counts), and Drug User in Possession of a Firearm, to 60 months’ imprisonment, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced. Steward was also ordered to pay a $400 fine, a $400 special assessment, and to serve 3 years’ supervised release following imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system. Steward has been in custody since his arrest on January 3, 2012.

According to court documents, On December 28, 2011, Steward, accompanied by his coconspirator, Calvin Loving, arrived at a firearms and sporting supplies business in Fairview Heights, Illinois, where they were met by a third co-conspirator, Donald Jones. Loving and Jones had agreed to work together to make money obtaining and selling firearms for profit. Loving and Jones had agreed that Jones, who had a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card from the State of Illinois, would obtain firearms, and Loving would broker the sale of the firearms to others for profit. Specifically, on December 28, 2011, Loving had made arrangements to broker the sale of firearms with Steward. Steward was a regular, unlawful user of marihuana, and was thus prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms, and he did not have an Illinois Firearm Owner’s Identification Card necessary for the purchase or possession of firearms.

Steward, Loving and Jones selected a Draco, Model Mini, 7.62 x 39 mm semi-automatic pistol, an AK 47-style firearm with the capacity to fire many rounds without reloading, and a Masterpiece Arms 930 SST, 9mm caliber semi-automatic pistol, another firearm having the capacity to fire many rounds without reloading. The sale price for the firearms was $1,058.97. Steward produced most of the cash for the purchase, with Loving providing the remainder.

As part of the sale process, Jones was required to complete a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Form 4473 (ATF Form 4473). Steward and Loving stood by and waited while Jones completed the paperwork. In relevant part, Jones answered, “Yes” to the following question on the form:

    Question 11 a: Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form? Warning: you are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.

Jones knew at the time he answered the question that the answer was false and was intended and likely to deceive the firearms business regarding the lawfulness of the sale of the firearms. Steward and Loving aided and abetted Jones’ false statement by associating themselves with the offense, participating in it, and trying to make it succeed. After the paperwork was finalized, the men left the store.

On January 3, 2012, after the required waiting period, Steward, Loving, and Jones again met at the firearms business. Jones picked up the firearms, placed them in the trunk of his car, and followed Steward and Loving to a nearby gas station where he removed the firearms from his car and placed them in the back seat of the car Steward was driving. Thereafter, law enforcement moved in and arrested the men. Loving was sentenced on September 20, 2012, to 130 months’ imprisonment, a $400 fine, a $400 special assessment, and 3 years’ supervised release. Jones has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

The investigation of the case was handled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Kit Morrissey.

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