DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois

For Immediate Release

Thursday, October 5, 2023
Morris Pasqual
, United States Attorney

Federal Judge Sentences Rockford Man to More Than Six Years in Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearm

ROCKFORD — A federal judge has sentenced a Rockford man to more than six years in federal prison for illegally possessing a firearm in Rockford.

U.S. District Judge Philip G. Reinhard on Tuesday sentenced WILLIE EVANS, 35, to eighty months in prison. Evans pleaded guilty earlier this year to a charge of illegal firearm possession. As a previously convicted felon, Evans was prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm.

Evans admitted in a plea agreement that while in Rockford on Feb. 23, 2022, he possessed a handgun that had been loaded with 13 rounds of ammunition, including one in the chamber. Evans also admitted that he possessed several small baggies containing cocaine and ecstasy that he intended to sell to others.

The sentence was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Christopher Amon, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and Carla Redd, Chief of the Rockford Police Department.

“Defendant’s offense endangered the community because he was not only illegally in possession of a firearm but was engaged in drug trafficking,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodora Anderson argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “Drug trafficking and gun violence go hand-in-hand and pose a real threat to the community.”

Holding illegal firearm possessors accountable through federal prosecution is a centerpiece of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) – the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction strategy. In the Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and law enforcement partners have deployed the PSN program to attack a broad range of violent crime issues facing the district, particularly firearm offenses.

Chicago Field Division