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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Southern District of Indiana

For Immediate Release

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney

Contact: Tim Horty
(317) 229-2409; Cell (317) 716-4250

Indianapolis Man Sentenced to Fifteen Years for Firearms Charge

Press Release

INDIANAPOLIS – Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney, announced that Jerry Crawford, 51, Indianapolis, was sentenced to 180 months in prison yesterday by U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker following his guilty plea to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives Achilles Task Force.

This sentencing shows just how seriously federal law treats the illegal possession of firearms, Hogsett said. As this case makes clear, our office remains committed to investigating and prosecuting repeat offenders who choose to arm themselves in violation of the law. According to a stipulated factual basis filed in federal court Wednesday afternoon, on February 9, 2011, Crawford entered Joseph’s Jewelry and Loan in Indianapolis, in possession of a 12 gauge shotgun. Crawford pawned the shotgun with the store, signing the pawn ticket and leaving his thumb print pursuant to store policy.

The ATF was alerted to this transaction and retrieved the shotgun and a copy of the pawn ticket from Joseph’s. The thumb print on the pawn ticket was examined by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department fingerprint examiners and positively identified as belonging to Jerry Crawford, a convicted felon. The shotgun was then examined by ATF personnel who determined it was not manufactured in the State of Indiana, and therefore traveled in interstate commerce prior to its discovery in Indianapolis on February 9, 2011. The ATF also determined the shotgun was a functioning firearm.

A subsequent review of court records by the ATF revealed that Crawford had prior felony convictions for burglary and attempted burglary in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1981 and 1986, respectively; two convictions for burglary in Indianapolis in 1988 and 1996; and convictions for Residential Entry and burglary in Hamilton County (Indiana) in 1997 and 2004, respectively. This is the latest prosecution in the U.S. Attorney’s ongoing Violent Crime Initiative (VCI). Announced by Hogsett in March of this year, the Initiative represents a comprehensive district-wide strategy to combat drug traffickers and criminals that use and carry firearms in their illegal activities through improved local collaboration and aggressive federal prosecution.

Already in 2011, the VCI has caused a dramatic increase in the number of gun-related charges – from 14 felony possession of a firearm charges in 2010 to 101 thus far in 2011. Major drug trafficking indictments are up more than 100% from where they were two years ago. And drug trafficking seizures have increased by more than seven-fold over 2010 numbers.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Rinka, who prosecuted the case for the government, the court concluded that Crawford’s violent criminal history made him an Armed Career Criminal under federal law, which designation required the court to impose a minimum term of fifteen years imprisonment. Judge Barker also imposed 3 years supervised release following Crawford’s release from prison.