URBANA, Ill. – A Dolton, Ill., man, Jerry Caldwell, 59, of the 14000 block of Shepard Drive has been sentenced to 64 months in the Bureau of Prisons for possessing firearms as a convicted felon.
At Caldwell’s sentencing hearing on July 12, 2021, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Michael M. Mihm found Caldwell was responsible for possessing three handguns, one of which had an obliterated serial number. At the time of sentencing, Judge Mihm rejected Caldwell’s testimony that he bought the guns because he intended to turn them over to a nonprofit organization that worked to remove guns from the street.
The charges arose from a drug investigation conducted by the Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group. Law enforcement learned that Caldwell was attempting to purchase several handguns from a detainee at the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee, who was trying to sell the guns through a third party while he was in custody. During covertly recorded phone calls, Caldwell told the seller that he was purchasing the guns so he could resell them to another individual in Chicago. On April 1, 2020, Caldwell traveled to Kankakee County and purchased the guns. During a traffic stop, law enforcement arrested him and seized the three handguns he purchased. Officers also seized a shotgun and AK-47-style rifle from a residence in Kankakee that Caldwell declined to purchase.
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.
“The prosecution of this case falls squarely into the third pillar of Project Safe Neighborhoods, said Acting United States Attorney Doug Quivey. The illegal gun trade helps fuel the violence plaguing our community and the broader surrounding area. Working closely with our law enforcement partners, we remain committed to curtailing it.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group, Kankakee Police Department, and Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Bryan Freres represented the government in the prosecution.
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