Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Southern District of Illinois

For Immediate Release

Friday, September 9, 2011

Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney

Contact: James L. Porter
(618) 628-3700

Five Men Arraigned on Gun Charges Involving Assault-Type Firearms

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced that the following five individuals were arraigned in federal district court in East St. Louis, today, on firearms charges alleged in an Indictment filed on September 8, 2011:

      Pierre L. Knowles, Jr., age 22
      Ceontae D. Matthews, age 19
      Cornell J. Eiland, age 21
      Jonathan Q. Franklin, age 20, and
      Lee Marvin Matthews, age 21

    All five men are from East St. Louis, IL.

    As alleged in the Indictment, Count 1 charges Knowles, Ceontae Matthews and Eiland with Possession of a Firearm in a School Zone; Counts 2, 3, and 7 charge Ceontae Matthews, Eiland, and Lee Matthews, respectively, with Possession of a Firearm by a User of a Controlled Substance; Count 4 charges Knowles with Possession of a Stolen Firearm; Count 5 charges Franklin with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; Count 6 charges Franklin and Lee Matthews with Possession of a Stolen Firearm; and Count 8 charges Lee Matthews with Making a False Statement to a Federal Officer.

    If convicted, each charge carries a maximum penalty of 5 or 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years’ supervised release.

    The Indictment also contains a forfeiture provision for the firearms.

    Note: An Indictment is a formal charge against a defendant; it does not represent a finding of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty by a jury of his peers. Allegations in an Indictment are simply allegations until proven in a Court by competent evidence.

    The United States Attorney has asked the Court to hold these individuals in custody, without bond, until their trials. A Detention Hearing for the five defendants is set for September 14, 2011. Additional details concerning this case will be available at that time. Trial is set for November 14, 2011.

    While ethical rules prevent comment on this case specifically, I do want to praise the swift, dedicated and cooperative investigation by both federal and local law enforcement. Their response was aided by concerned citizens, folks who should be praised for their willingness to become involved. noted United States Attorney Wigginton.

    The case was investigated by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and officers of the Centreville. A WAVE team also assisted in the apprehension of certain suspects. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen B. Clark.