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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois
John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, November 4, 2022

Man Sentenced to More Than Five Years in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing a Firearm With a “Switch” Device

ROCKFORD — A man has been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison for illegally possessing a firearm with a “switch” device.

U.S. District Judge Iain D. Johnston on Friday sentenced JOSEPH SMITH, 26, of Rockford, to five years and five months in prison and three years of supervised release. Smith plead guilty earlier this year to a charge of illegal firearm possession. As a previously convicted felon, he was prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms. Smith admitted in a plea agreement that while in Rockford on September 15, 2021, he possessed a handgun loaded with 17 rounds of ammunition and a conversion device, also known as a “switch”, that converted the firearm from semiautomatic to fully automatic.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Kristen deTineo, 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. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Ladd.

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, U.S. Attorney Lausch and law enforcement partners have deployed the PSN program to attack a broad range of violent crime issues facing the district, particularly firearm offenses.

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