Erik Willis, 31 of Purdon, was sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis to serve a total of 258 months in federal prison following his conviction at trial in July 2013 on three felony firearms offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, Willis, who represented himself at trial, was convicted on two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of possessing an unregistered firearm. Judge Solis sentenced him to 120 months on each count of conviction, for a total of 360 months, but two of the three sentences will run concurrently. In addition, when Willis was convicted, he was on federal supervised release, so he received an additional 18-month sentence for this violation.
At trial, the government presented evidence that on April 27, 2011, Willis, who had been previously convicted in 2005 of possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, fled after choking a Garrett Police officer during a traffic stop. A subsequent search of his truck yielded two guns and marijuana.
Then, on May 6, 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Texas Rangers and the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office searched Willis’s property in Purdon after receiving information he had stockpiled weapons and drugs. During the search, officers located three and a half pounds of marijuana, $150,000 in cash and 13 firearms, including a “street sweeper” destructive device. Willis’s house was heavily fortified, containing a hidden room, steel curtains, money counters, industrial door locks and surveillance equipment.
The case was investigated by ATF, the Texas Rangers, the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office and the Garrett Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cara Foos Pierce and Taly Haffar prosecuted.
Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com