For Immediate Release
Beloit Man Sentenced to 9 Years for Cocaine Trafficking & Illegal Gun Possession
MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Eshawn M. Reed, 40, Beloit, Wisconsin pleaded guilty and was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 9 years in federal prison for distributing crack cocaine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. This 9-year prison term will be followed by 5 years of supervised release.
On April 6, July 19, and August 5, 2021, Janesville Police Department officers purchased crack cocaine from Reed in Janesville using a confidential informant.
On August 10, 2021, law enforcement officers planned to arrest Reed and search his residence in Janesville. On that day, Beloit Police Department officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle Reed was driving. Reed did not pull over and instead fled in his vehicle at a high rate of speed. Officers located Reed’s abandoned car sometime later. Reed was found walking away from the vehicle and taken into custody. His vehicle was searched, and officers found a loaded Ruger 57 handgun, an additional loaded magazine, a bag containing 25 grams of crack cocaine sitting on top of a stack of $4,380 in cash, an additional $15,790 in cash, and 1,063 grams of marijuana. Reed’s DNA was found on the firearm.
Officers also searched Reed’s residence in Janesville pursuant to a search warrant. At the residence, officers found drug trafficking paraphernalia, including a vacuum-sealing machine, unused vacuum bags, a 100-gram weight, measuring cups, strainers, and packaging materials. The next day, officers were alerted to a bag found in a ditch along Reed’s suspected flight path from law enforcement the day prior. Inside the bag, officers found 671 grams of powder cocaine and 62 grams of crack cocaine. Reed’s DNA was found on the bag of powder cocaine. When interviewed by officers, Reed admitted to possessing the guns, drugs, and cash in the vehicle and admitted that the crack cocaine found in the car was prepackaged for sale so he would be ready when someone called.
Reed was prohibited from legally possessing a firearm based on multiple prior felony convictions. During the time of the controlled buys and arrest, he was on state supervision for three felony cases – one involving second degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon, a second case involving maintaining a drug trafficking place, and a third case involving possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute. His state supervision has since been revoked and he is currently serving a total sentence of 5 years in state prison with an anticipated release date of November 7, 2026. Judge Peterson ordered Reed’s 4-year federal sentence on the cocaine distribution charge to run concurrently with the remainder of Reed’s state prison sentence and ordered Reed’s 5-year federal sentence on the firearm charge to run consecutively to the cocaine distribution charge as well as Reed’s state prison sentences.
At sentencing, Judge Peterson said that Reed’s crimes were very serious, that his extensive drug dealing was degrading to the community, and that his firearm possession was highly aggravating. Judge Peterson noted Reed’s long, unrelenting history of crime which included a prior federal conviction for possessing a firearm as a felon.
The charges against Reed were the result of an investigation conducted by the Janesville, City of Beloit, and Town of Beloit Police Departments, the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven P. Anderson prosecuted this case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.