Gulfport Man, Kevin Jaquan Willis Pleads Guilty to Firearms Offense under Project EJECT
Gulfport, MI (STL.News) Kevin Jaquan Willis, 23, of Gulfport, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden to being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca and Brad L. Byerley, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”).
On October 7, 2020, Gulfport police officers stopped a vehicle driven by Willis and discovered in the vehicle 98 grams of marijuana, a digital scale, and a Smith and Wesson M&P 15, assault style rifle. The rifle was loaded with 24 rounds of ammunition.
Willis admitted to regularly smoking marijuana since he was 15 years old. He also indicated that he smoked about an ounce of marijuana per day. Finally, Willis admitted to possessing both the marijuana and the rifle.
Willis will be sentenced by Judge Ozerden on May 13, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the DEA and the Gulfport Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Buckner.
This case is part of Project EJECT, an initiative by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) and Project Guardian. EJECT is a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to fighting and reducing violent crime through prosecution, prevention, re-entry and awareness. EJECT stands for “Empower Justice Expel Crime Together.” PSN is bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.
Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.