PEORIA, Ill. – United States Attorney Gregory K. Harris and representatives from six law enforcement agencies today highlighted the formation of the Peoria Area Federal Firearms
(PAFF) Task Force, a collaborative effort between federal, state, and local law enforcement designed to combat and prevent violent firearm crimes. The PAFF is comprised of an assigned
federal prosecutor and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as sworn federal task force officers from the Peoria Police Department, the Illinois State Police, the Peoria County Sheriff’s Department, and the Parole Division of the Illinois Department of Corrections. The PAFF has been operational since fall 2022, and its efforts have led to arrests and charges in numerous federal gun cases.
Those cases include indictments for possession of a firearm as a felon and additional indictments for unlawful possession of a machine gun. Multiple PAFF indictments arose from cases
involving the discharge of fully automatic machine guns within residential areas of Peoria.
Further, an investigation conducted by the PAFF led to federal charges for possession of machinegun conversion devices printed locally on a 3D printer. Members of the public are reminded that indictments are merely accusations; the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
Several other PAFF-referred cases are pending sentencing, including United States v. Johnson, No. 23-CR-10007, in which the defendant pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a
machinegun, and United States v. Allison, No. 23-CR-10002, and United States v. Bailey, No. 22-10030, in which the defendants each pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a felon.
The PAFF uses various investigative techniques to target individuals who are actively involved in, or associated with, firearm-related violence in Peoria and surrounding counties. Individuals
identified as being involved in firearm-related violence, including “straw purchasers” who buy guns on behalf of someone else, are referred to the United States Attorney’s Office for potential
prosecution. The PAFF also directs its resources to investigate felons who unlawfully possess firearms, drug traffickers who possess and use firearms, and individuals that possess aftermarket
devices that convert semi-automatic firearms into machineguns, commonly referred to as “switches”. The PAFF pools each of its respective agency resources and pursue strategies to disrupt perpetrators of gun violence.
Additionally, the PAFF will utilize the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) station located at the Peoria Police Department to assist in firearms investigations.
NIBIN, which is managed nationally by ATF, is the only interstate automated ballistic imaging network in operation in the United States. The NIBIN Program automates ballistics evaluations
by comparing shell casing evidence collected from shooting scenes, enabling law enforcement to link shooting incidents within their jurisdiction, in neighboring jurisdictions, and to others across
“Reducing gun violence in our communities requires cooperation, commitment, and determination,” said United States Attorney Gregory K. Harris. “Collaboration among federal, state, and local law enforcement partners is one of the most effective ways to combat violent gun crime.”
“Partnerships among law enforcement are vital to holding accountable the trigger pullers responsible for the violence in our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher
Amon, of the ATF’s Chicago Field Division. “The men and women of ATF are committed to working closely with our local, state, and federal partners, which is a force multiplier in investigating gun crime.”
“Last year the Peoria Police Department was able to reduce gun violence by 28%, but that is not enough,” said Peoria Police Chief, Eric Echevarria. “The Peoria Area Federal Firearms Task
Force is another example of how our department is using every resource and partnership available to reduce gun violence. With the creation of this taskforce, we now have a team operating out of the Peoria Police Department streamlining the process of identifying,
investigating, charging, and prosecuting violent offenders federally. I remind everyone that we will not tolerate any violent crimes in our community. For those wanting to continue to victimize
our community, we will continue to focus on you and bringing an end to the violence.”
“Families in Peoria and the surrounding communities are at risk each day as violent criminals commit violations of firearms laws,” said Special Agent in Charge David G. Nanz, of the FBI’s
Springfield Field Office. “The FBI is committed to working side-by-side with our law enforcement partners toward our shared goal of battling violent crime and making our communities safer.”
“The Illinois State Police is a committed member of the Peoria Area Task Force and is focused on getting illegal guns off the streets and out of the hands of criminals,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “The collaborative effort between ISP, local and federal law enforcement agencies, and the justice system is helping make our communities safer.”
The PAFF 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.