Last Updated Friday, May 14, 2021, at 5:03 PM
Every Friday, The Criminal Lawyer Group publishes a digest of the latest federal prosecutions nationally. Our goal is to keep the public informed as to recent events in federal courts around the country.
Unless otherwise disclosed, none of the defendants mentioned in these summaries are clients of our firm.
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FRIDAY, May 14, 2021
I. After Violent Crime Spree Last Summer, Three Murfreesboro Men Indicted
On May 10, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, Mary Jane Stewart, announced that a federal grand jury had delivered a 13-count indictment charging three Murfreesboro men with a variety of serious offenses stemming from a series of violent crimes committed in July 2020. Joshua Hallmon, 25, Charles Melvin Walker, 20, and Walter Lee Williams, 20, were charged with multiple counts of Hobbs Act robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. In addition, Joshua Hallmon was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
According to the indictment, on July 6, 2020, the three men committed an armed robbery of a Twice Daily convenience store in Murfreesboro, and on July 23, 2020, they committed an armed robbery of a Mapco gas station in Murfreesboro. Then, on July 26, 2020, they all carjacked an individual at gunpoint on Bradyville Pike in Murfreesboro.
After taking the victim’s phone and wallet, they drove the victim to an ATM and forced the withdrawal of $1,000 cash before discharging a firearm out the window of the vehicle and eventually putting the victim out of the car and taking his car, which was a Honda Accord. The indictment also alleges that, on the same day as the first carjacking, all three defendants attempted to carjack another vehicle in Franklin, Tennessee. They also allegedly shot into the occupied vehicle during the attempt.
II. Three Georgia Men Indicted on Federal Gun Felonies
After a long investigation by the ATF and local Georgia law enforcement, a U.S. District Court grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia, it was announced on May 10, 2021, that three men have been indicted and now face felony firearms charges related to illegal possession or purchase of firearms. The defendants named in these federal indictments include the following:
➤ Tareem Burgess, 39, of Hephzibah, Ga., has been charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person, due in part to a prior conviction for domestic violence;
➤ Jakobian Sentell Jones, 20, of Warrenton, Ga., has been charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and,
➤ Jerry Allen Edenfield, 30, of Swainsboro, Ga., charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
Under federal law, it is illegal for an individual to possess a firearm if they are one of the following; a felon, an illegal alien, or unlawful user of a controlled substance. In addition, it is unlawful to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense or violent crime. It is also illegal to purchase – or even to attempt to purchase – firearms if the buyer is a prohibited person or illegally purchasing a firearm on behalf of others.
III. Chicago Man Indicted, Charged with Illegally Possessing “Switch” Devices Designed to Turn Handguns Into Machine Guns
On May 11, 2021, a Chicago man was indicted on federal firearm charges for allegedly illegally transferring and possessing “switch” devices that are capable of converting a semi-automatic pistol into a machine gun. The Chicago man, Kalil Warner, 24, has been charged with five counts of illegal transfer and possession of a machine gun. According to the indictment, Warner allegedly transferred and possessed the switch devices in Chicago on at least five occasions earlier this year.
The only purpose for these switch components is to convert non-automatic and semi-automatic weapons into machine guns, according to the indictment, and they allow a handgun to shoot more than a bullet with a single pull of the trigger. Warner pled pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on May 10 in U.S. District Court in Chicago. U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman scheduled a status hearing for June 15, 2021.
The indictment was announced by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, a U.S. District Court grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia, a U.S. District Court grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia, John R. Kausch, along with Chicago-based officials with the ATF. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Albert Berry III.
IV. Anchorage Man Charged for Illegal Possession of Drugs and Firearms
On May 11, 2021, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska Bryan Wilson announced that an Anchorage man had been indicted on federal charges of possessing heroin and methamphetamine for distribution, as well as for illegal possession of firearms as a convicted felon. As laid out in the indictment and other court records, Kirt Filoialii, 42, has been charged based on a domestic violence investigation by the Anchorage Police Department (APD).
Filoialii made his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah M. Smith on May 11. If he is convicted of all charges, he faces at least 10 ten years in prison. According to the indictment, on April 15, Filoialii allegedly assaulted a female victim with a firearm and a metal bar, leaving her unconscious and badly injured.
Also, Filoialii allegedly k kidnapped the victim as part of the assault. When the APD caught up with him, Filoialii had 300 grams of packaged heroin and 11 grams of methamphetamine, a loaded Glock pistol, more than $16,000 in cash, and a scale. APD located two more firearms and additional ammunition in his residence. The Anchorage District Attorney’s Office indicted Filoialii on state charges on April 22.
V. Pittsburgh Felon Charged with Illegal Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition
A resident of Pittsburgh, PA, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, PA on May 11, 2021, on charges of violating various federal firearms laws. The Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Stephen R. Kaufman, made the announcement the same day. Jamaar Alexander Blakey, 37, was indicted on one charge of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon.
According to the details of the Indictment, on September 26, 2020, Blakey allegedly possessed a firearm and ammunition, even though he was a convicted felon. The Indictment further alleges that on October 19, 2020, Blakey possessed ammunition. Under federal law, an individual who has been convicted of a felony may not possess either a firearm or ammunition. If he is convicted at trial, Blakey faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.
VI. Jersey City Man Faces Charges for Illegally Possessing Multiple Firearms
On May 11, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Rachael A. Honig, announced that a Jersey City, New Jersey, the man had made his initial appearance that day on charges stemming from his arrest for illegally possessing two loaded firearms, another handgun, and ammunition, even though he was illegally barred from possessing any of them.
Davone Adams, aka “Dikim Adams,” 42, appeared by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor on May 11, and he was subsequently released on home confinement. The indictment charges Adams with one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. He was also charged by complaint today with being in possession of another handgun and more ammunition.
According to the indictment and supporting court documents, on Feb. 23, 2021, Adams, who had previously been convicted of a felony, was found by law enforcement officers to be in possession of one Ruger, Model P95, 9-millimeter Luger pistol loaded with 10 ten rounds, as well as one Windam Weaponry, Model WW-15, .223/5.56-millimeter rifle loaded with 30 rounds.
An additional Ruger handgun and additional ammunition were found at his residence on May 11. If he is convicted, Adams faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
VII. Michigan Man Arraigned on Bank Robbery Charges
On May 11, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Saima Mohsin, announced that a 49-year-old man, Ken Kenyatta Wilson, formerly of Cleveland, Ohio, who was also a convicted felon, had been arraigned earlier that day in a Detroit federal court on charges stemming from a bank robbery in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Joining Mohsin in the announcement were was FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit office Timothy Waters and Matthew E. Harshberger of the Director of Public Safety in the Pittsfield Township Police Department.
Based on court records in the case, on March 23, 2021, Wilson, who was wearing a gray coat and black pants and carrying a white bag, entered a Chase Bank branch in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where he approached a victim teller, informed her this was a robbery and demanded that she give him all the money she had. The teller, fearing for her safety, handed Wilson $1,000 in currency.
Wilson then fled the bank and entered a red vehicle. Wilson, upon seeing a Pittsfield Township police vehicle, fled the area at a high rate of speed, and a vehicle pursuit followed at speeds approaching 100 mph. The chase ended when Wilson crashed into a median on US-23 North, and he was ejected from the vehicle. Wilson was taken into custody by Pittsfield Township Police Department officers and transported to a local hospital to treat him for the injuries he sustained in the crash.
At the accident scene, police recovered a black semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine, a silver revolver, a rifle, multiple loaded magazines, and a bag containing $1,000, consistent with the reported loss from Chase Bank, among other items.
VIII. Three Fort Campbell Soldiers Charged In Illegal Gun Pipeline To Chicago
Three Fort Campbell soldiers, Demarcus Adams, 21; Jarius Brunson, 22; and Brandon Miller, 22, all enlisted members stationed at the Fort Campbell Army installation in Clarksville, Tennessee, were charged on May 11, 2021, with conspiracy and offenses relating to the illegal purchase and transfer of dozens of firearms to the streets of Chicago. The charges were announced by Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, Mary Jane Stewart.
All three defendants were arrested by ATF agents and agents of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division on May 11. According to a criminal complaint. Each defendant has been charged each defendant with transferring a firearm to an out-of-state resident, making false statements during the purchase of a firearm, engaging in the business of selling or otherwise transferring guns without a firearms license; wire fraud; money laundering; and conspiracy to commit Title 18 offenses. The investigation started n on March 26, 2021, when guns found at the scene of a Chicago mass shooting scene were traced to purchases made in the Fort Campbell area.
IX. Wisconsin Man Charged with Distributing Child Porn
On May 12, 2021, Timothy M. O’Shea, who is the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that a Dane County man had been charged with 2 two counts of distributing child pornography in an indictment returned that day by a federal grand jury si is in Madison. Brett Blomme, 40, Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, is charged with 2 two counts of distributing a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. At the time of the offenses alleged in the indictment, Blomme was a judge with the Milwaukee County Children’s Court.
The indictment alleges that, between October 30 and November 1, 2020, Blomme sent a file containing an image of child pornography to another user via Kik Messenger. If Blomme is convicted of the charges, he faces at least five years and up to 20 years in prison on each count.
X. Illinois Man Charged with Bank Robbery
On May 11, 2021, a Rockford, Illinois man was indicted by a federal grand jury for the robbery of a bank in Rockford that happened last month. April 7, 2021, is when Demontrion Deshan Phillips, 27, allegedly stole around $5,930 from the Midland States Bank branch on North Alpine Rd. in Rockford. The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, among other law enforcement officials.
According to the indictment and other charging documents, Phillips is charged with one count of bank robbery. He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on May 12 before U.S. District Judge Iain D. Johnston in Rockford. Judge Johnston ordered Phillips to remain in federal custody pending trial.