Home Indianapolis Press Releases 2014 Week in Review—Hammond

Week in Review—Hammond

U.S. Attorney’s Office June 06, 2014
  • Northern District of Indiana (219) 937-5500

HAMMOND, IN—The United States Attorney’s Office announced the following activity in federal court:

Pleas (before District Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen):

  • Veronica Woods-Smith, 61, of Hammond, Indiana, pled guilty to the felony offense of theft of government property. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Social Security Administration. Sentencing has been set for August 1, 2014. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nick Padilla.
  • Desman Thomas, 38, of Griffith, Indiana, pled guilty to the felony offense of bank robbery. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sentencing has been set for August 21, 2014. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dean Lanter.
  • Dwayne Allen Jackson, 28, of Chicago, Illinois, pled guilty to the felony offense of making a materially false statement. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Department of Treasury-Secret Service. Sentencing has been set for August 19, 2014. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Randy Stewart.

If convicted in court, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Dispositions (before Senior Judge James T. Moody):

  • Sidney Sellers, 42, of Chicago, Illinois, was sentenced to 64 months and four years’ supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession with intent to distribute fifty (50) grams or more of crack cocaine. According to documents filed in this case, in February 2008, Gary Police Department made a traffic stop of Sellers and discovered him to be in possession of a loaded Glock semi-automatic handgun. Law enforcement searched the car and recovered three clear bags containing 87 gross grams of crack cocaine and 223 gross grams of powder cocaine. This case was the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Gary Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Chang-Adiga.
  • Christopher Castro, 34, of Lorain, Ohio, was sentenced to 63 months and four years’ supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine. According to documents filed in this case, Castro travelled with others from Ohio to Northwest Indiana to purchase cocaine. This case was the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Josh Kolar.
  • Carmalita Stewart-Cannon, 48, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of knowingly possessing, in and affecting commerce, a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense. According to documents filed in this case, on October 7, 21, and 22, Gary Police officers conducted three recorded controlled buys of heroin (for 0.53, 0.87, and 0.83 gross grams respectively) through a confidential informant from Stewart-Cannon at her residence. On October 29, based on the heroin buys, a state search warrant was issued and executed for Stewart-Cannon’s residence. Within the residence was a purse containing both Stewart-Cannon’s identification and a Ruger .22 caliber pistol. Also in the room were 15 clear Ziplock bags of marijuana. Stewart Cannon was arrested and gave a post arrest statement where she stated that she was holding the gun as collateral for someone she had lent $20. Stewart-Cannon has a prior felony conviction for aggravated robbery in 1999 and two possessions of controlled substance felonies from 2003 and 2011. She fled from probation on the 2011 count and there has been a warrant for her arrest since December 2011. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Gary Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tom McGrath.
  • Derrick Green, 23, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced to two years’ probation after pleading guilty to the felony offense of making materially false statements with respect to information required to be kept in the records of a federally licensed firearms dealer in connection with the purchase of a firearm. According to documents filed in this case, in 2012, Green entered several federally licensed firearms dealers in Northwest Indiana and completed several ATF Form 4473s to purchase firearms. Green lied on each form by answering that he was the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed. In 2012, one of the firearms was recovered from a convicted felon by law enforcement officers. In July 2012, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted a recorded, consensual interview with Green, who indicated that he straw-purchased all of the firearms for another individual. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dean Lanter.

Dispositions (before Chief Judge Philip P. Simon):

  • Duane Spears Jr., 24, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced to two years’ probation after pleading guilty to the felony offense of making materially false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer in connection with the purchase of firearms. According to documents filed in this case, on June 21, 2012, Spears purchased a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Hammond, Indiana. Spears filled out an ATF Form 4473 for the purchase of a Ruger, .45 caliber, semi-automatic pistol, and a Glock, .40 caliber, semi-automatic pistol. In filling out this ATF Form 4473, Spears lied lied on the form by answering that he was the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed when in truth he was actually purchasing the weapons for another individual. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dean Lanter.
  • Claude Hunter, 57, of Schererville, Indiana, was sentenced to five months and five on detention after pleading guilty to the felony offense of selling firearm and ammunition to a known felon. According to documents filed in this case, on multiple dates including August 13, 2012, September 20, 2012 and October 3, 2012, Hunter met with an individual, who was a convicted felon, for the purpose of selling a firearm. Hunter knew the individual to be a convicted felon. In subsequent meetings, Hunter did sell firearms in a controlled buy and was later arrested. When in custody, Hunter admitted to providing two firearms for sale. This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Josh Kolar.
  • Christopher Lewis, 38, of Merrillville, Indiana, was sentenced to 27 months, one year supervised release, and to pay $6,000 in fines after pleading guilty to the felony offense of attempt and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. According to documents filed in this case, Lewis was part of a widespread mortgage fraud conspiracy. He recruited buyers and misrepresented home values to the buyers. Homes were sold at inflated values. This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster.