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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Michigan
Mark Totten, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, October 28, 2022

Grand Rapids Man Sentenced to Nearly Six Years in Prison for Unlawfully Possessing Firearms

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Mark Totten announced today that Ernest James Jones, Jr., 22, of Grand Rapids, was sentenced to 70 months in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms. U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney also imposed a 3-year period of supervised release to follow Jones’s incarceration.

“Reducing gun crime and preserving the safety of our communities are priorities for my office,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “We are committed to working with the ATF and our law enforcement partners to disrupt illegal, black market weapon sales to minimize illegal guns on the streets of West Michigan.”

In December 2021, Jones was sentenced to jail on a state weapons conviction. The day he was released from jail in January 2022, Jones offered to sell guns to a confidential informant working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Jones sold stolen guns to the informant on four different occasions and believed, based on conversations with the informant, that the informant was also involved in illegal gun sales. Two of the guns Jones sold were used in shootings in Grand Rapids in 2020.

“This case illustrates how ATF utilizes crime gun intelligence to effectively identify and remove violent criminals from our communities,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai, “The efforts of our federal, state, tribal, and local partnerships have had a significant impact on reducing the threat of gun violence.”

Judge Maloney described Jones’s conduct as “grave indeed” and “emblematic of what is going on in communities across the State of Michigan and the country.” Jones is a “threat to the public,” Judge Maloney said, and those who illegally possess and traffic guns need to know that “they will face a significant penalty if convicted.”

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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The case was investigated by the ATF and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Adam Townshend.

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