INDIANAPOLIS-(ENEWSPF)- Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney, announced that Michael D. Wood, Jr., 39, of Indianapolis, has been charged with the possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a felony. This follows an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
“Prosecutions such as this one underscore this office’s commitment to helping reduce violent crime across the Hoosier State,” Hogsett said. “Working with our local law enforcement partners, we are making clear that if you are a convicted felon, and you choose to arm yourself in violation of the law, we will find you and you will face federal charges. ”
The indictment alleges that on or about December 15, 2011, Wood, a convicted felon, possessed a .38 caliber revolver. The charge further alleges that Wood was previously convicted of escape in 2004 and receiving stolen property in 2008 in Hendricks County. In addition, Wood was convicted of forgery in 2005 in Marion County.
Announced by Hogsett in March of 2011, 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. Together with local law enforcement and county prosecutors, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is able to identify the “worst of the worst” in Hoosier communities and bring federal charges against them.
In the first nine months of the initiative, the VCI produced a dramatic increase in the number of gun-related charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office—from just 14 felony possession of a firearm charges in 2010 to 103 last year. Drug trafficking indictments were up more than 100 percent last year, and drug trafficking seizures increased seven-fold over 2009 numbers.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Doris L. Pryor, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Wood faces a maximum possible prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum possible fine of $250,000. An initial hearing on the indictment will be scheduled before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Indianapolis.
This case is the result of Project Safe Neighborhoods—a project designed to reduce illegal drugs and violent crimes with the particular focus of cracking down on gang activities within the Southern District of Indiana. Project Safe Neighborhoods brings to bear a coordinated effort between local and federal law enforcement agencies to get guns out of the hands of convicted felons.
The charge is an allegation only, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at trial or by guilty plea.