Man convicted on federal gun and drug charges sentenced

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FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. – A southern Illinois man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for heroin possession and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Demetrius O. Ward of East St. Louis was shot by a St. Clair County Sheriff’s deputy on Jan. 19 after he tried to retrieve a loaded gun he dropped while fleeing police on foot.

Federal prosecutors say a sheriff’s deputy attempted to stop the car the 42-year-old Ward was driving. The suspect led authorities on a high-speed chase before he crashed into a pole.

Ward was barred from possessing a gun because of seven prior felony convictions, including one in 2005 for armed robbery.

U.S. Attorney Steven Weinhoeft said Thursday that despite Ward’s later claims he was the victim because he was reaching for money and a cellphone when he was shot, “justice was done in the case.”

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