Bloomington Felon Sentenced to 92 Months in Prison for Possession of a Firearm

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

PEORIA, Ill. – A Bloomington, Illinois man, Lamel Johnson, 39, of the 600 block of East Walnut Street, has been sentenced to 92 months in prison, to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release, for unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, namely a Smith & Wesson 9mm.

At the September 28, 2022, sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Joe B. McDade, the United States presented evidence that Johnson acted as armed security when Johnson’s associate illegally sold a handgun to another person. Moments after the illegal transaction, law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop of Johnson. After officers ordered Johnson out of the vehicle, they located a handgun in his waistband that was loaded with a large capacity magazine. Johnson had previously been convicted of numerous felony offenses, including armed robbery and drug trafficking crimes.

Johnson was indicted in January, 2021 and entered a guilty plea in June, 2022. He has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest.

The statutory penalties for possession of a firearm by a felon at the time of Johnson’s offense were up to 10 years’ imprisonment, up to three years of supervised release, and a possible fine of up to $250,000.

The Normal Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Springfield Field Office, investigated the case with the assistance of the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office, McLean County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Illinois State Police Division of Forensic Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Hollingshead-Cook represented the United States in the prosecution.

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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.